Huddersfield lost the toss but captain Asif wanted them to have pushback for the first half. Right from the start Wakefield showed real intent with some very promising attacks. The midfield and wings were putting together some excellent interplay, Phil Dyke looking very comfortable intercepting and distributing ball from the midfield. Oliver Butterfield and Will Roberts had some searching runs down the wings but unfortunately the Huddersfield defence intercepted well and looked strong.
The majority of the first quarters play was in the Huddersfield half with Wakefield dominating possession, however, when play broke down Huddersfield showed that they could counter quickly. The Wakefield defence of Asif Khan, Will Stiff and Jack Smith were solid and well organised and interrupted the Huddersfield attacks before they were able to get into the danger zone.
The first 25 minutes of play were dominated by Wakefield but they failed to capitalise on this as both sides had yet to have a shot on target. The passing from all the Wakefield players was first class and showed a high level of confidence in moving and distributing the ball.
Will Roberts picked up the ball in midfield and threaded it past two defenders to find Guy Stuart-Brown on the edge of the D, he beat the keeper who had rushed out and shot at goal but the ball was saved. The referee awarded Wakefield a short corner for a ‘foot ‘. Theo Brook injected the ball to Joseph Guelli who lined up the ball for Niral Shetty to shoot but the Huddersfield defence were out quickly and cleared the ball.
Russell Porter, looked relaxing in goal and was put into action only once in the first half just before half time when Wakefield conceded a short corner. The set piece was poorly executed by Huddersfield and the referee blew for the break, the score 0-0
The manager left the half time team talk to the team more experienced players claiming that as he’d left his hair dryer at home and there was little point making the effort to walk half the length of the pitch!
The Wakefield goalie, Russell Porter, having had so little to do in the whole of the first half, took the opportunity of the break to get some exercise and expertly waddled off up the pitch to the other end.
At the half time interview, Wakefield’s Manager, Steve, demonstrated the sort of incisive knowledge of the game that is rarely found at this level when he commented “we’ve had some good possession in the first half but we really need to get some goals in the second.”
After a motivational team talk from Asif the whole team decided to take a nap for the first ten minutes of the second half as Huddersfield came out with a level of energy and focus not seen in the first half.
Despite this Huddersfield could not find a way through the Wakefield defence who linked really well with the midfield of Nathan Cook and Jack Smith. As Wakefield started to wake up it was clear that the Huddersfield defence, who were very experienced players, were getting rattled. They started to give away silly free hits and nothing was getting past the referee. Despite this Guy Stuart-Brown decided he would offer his help and guidance to the umpire, who had been in charge of the Commonwealth Games Hockey final, by pointing out the offences he had missed. He will learn not to discuss decisions with the umpire.
Wakefield were now firmly back in the driving seat and were awarded a short corner. Theo Brook continued his solid work from the first half playing the ball out to Mark Stuckey who’s shot was blocked by a defender but quickly followed up by Theo who expertly put the ball in the back of the net, 1-0 to Wakefield.
Huddersfield continued to attack but there simply wasn’t any way through the Wakefield defence.
The next Wakefield attack broke down just inside the D and the ball was cleared with a long shot which was bravely taken out of the air by Will Roberts who immediately passed the ball back into the feet of Niral Shetty on the edge of the D who placed the ball wide of the keeper who simply couldn’t react quick enough, Wakefield 2-0.
In the last 10 minutes of the game Huddersfield struggled to get out of their own quarter and became increasingly agitated.
Man of the Match was awarded to Will Roberts, Most Improved were Jack Smith, Oliver Butterfield, Joseph Gueli and Niral Shetty (all the players improved but the players couldn’t decide who had improved the most).
It was a game where every player contributed fully, the defence was rock solid, the midfield dominated and were spreading the ball extremely well and the attack looked threatening and clearly wound up the Huddersfield defence. If the team can repeat this and continue to pass and distribute the ball as well as they did today they will go from strength to strength.
Wakefield 8s win 2-0