DESPITE two, battling displays, Mansfield Hockey Club lost twice at home over the weekend in their first East Midlands Regional Hockey Premier League sponsored by Ener-G games of 2012.
Saturday saw then lost 6-1 to Loughborough Toqwn before Sunday’s visitors, Sihk Union, left with a 3-0 success.
Against Loughborough, the game began at a frantic pace, with both teams attacking, and it was only two minutes in when Mansfield took the lead.
Roy Greasby passed into the D for Allan Younger to shoot. The keeper saved, but the rebound fell to Chris Sieder to open the scoring.
However, the lead was short-lived as Loughborough replied with three goals in 10 minutes.
Mansfield tried hard to keep their shape and matched the visitors for the middle section of the half.
On 25 minutes Mansfield created a chance, playing some good hockey down the right, and Ellis Butler’s shot went just wide.
But the Loughborough attack was clinical and took advantage of some gaps in the centre of Mansfield’s defence, scoring two more goals before half-time.
In the second half, Mansfield played much better.
The team work was excellent, there was some good defensive performances and Jay Ward in goal pulled off some magnificent saves.
Loughborough scored just one second half goal, mid-way through.
But despite the 6-1 defeat, Mansfield can take great credit from their second half performance that was even congratulated upon by the umpires.
It was another home game on Sunday, this time the visitors were Sikh Union Nottingham who ran out 3-0 winners.
The game was previously postponed two weeks ago due to a frozen pitch.
This was a very competitive affair. Sikh Union had a blank Saturday and were really fired up for the game.
With Mansfield playing the previous day it was thought they might struggle.
However, Mansfield put on a fantastic display of commitment and tenacity and at times played some of their best hockey this season.
The game was generally very even but Sikh Union took their chances whereas Mansfield couldn’t convert theirs.
Mansfield decided to man mark Sikh Union’s main playmaker and it worked a treat.
Matt Seals broke up many attacks and frustrated the visitors.
Going forward, Mansfield won a number of short corners and created some good chances in open play during the second half.
This coupled with good defending from Richard Younger, Joe Seals, Ady Kent and Mark Kimberley together with excellent work rate from the midfield players gave Mansfield great heart for the forthcoming fixtures.
A very inexperienced Mansfield second XI put in a spirited performance and almost achieved a result against a Derby Asterdale side known for their home form this season, before going down 3-2.
In a close first half in which the Derby side had the majority of possession, there were few chances but Mansfield went behind after a converted penalty corner.
Mansfield started stronger in the second half but fell two behind after a Derby break was allowed to continue after a ball was lifted into a Mansfield player.
Despite this setback, Mansfield still pressed forward and Ian Barker pulled a goal back by reacting first to a rebound off the keeper.
Derby then pressed forward and a powerful shot from the edge of the D found the top left corner.
This did not dent the Mansfield spirit and with the last hit of the game Mark Kimberley converted a short corner to make the final score 3-2.
l Mansfield third team were beaten 5-1 at home by a young, skilful, Loughborough Sharks team.
It was looking bright for Mansfield when, after five minutes, Steve Jenks scored an early goal to put them ahead.
However, Loughborough got their game together and produced an excellent display.
They proved to be too well organised and played an excellent passing game.
Three goals in the first half were followed by a further two unanswered goals in the second half.
Mansfield Hockey Club are looking attract new players to the club.
Anyone interested should contact the club whose website is www.mansfieldhc.co.uk.