Match Report – by Terry Oakley
Manchester versus Peterborough
25th February 2023 at Ardwick Sports Hall, Manchester
Souleyman Toure - Goalkeeper – Split Both Halves
Alex Clack – Goalkeeper – Split Both Halves
Damaras Gordon (Captain)
Tyler Salmon (Goalkeeper – 1st Half)
Anthony Williams (Goalkeeper – 2nd Half)
Michael Carter (Captain)
Referees:- Karl Wilson and Andrew Kneeshaw.
Manchester started the stronger in this match and were pressing the play high into the Peterborough half. A loose cross rink pass was intercepted by Iosu Servent who confidently sprinted forward, lifted the ball into the air as he approached the goal and placed his shot delicately over the head of the Peterborough goalkeeper. Manchester 1 Peterborough 0.
Almost immediately after Manchester had taken the lead Peterborough were level. An excellent break by Luca Oakley down the right which saw his pace take him past two defenders followed by a neat pass inside to Josh Aaltonen, in front of goal, and he slid his shot under the diving Manchester goalie. Manchester 1 Peterborough 1.
Another fast break by Luca Oakley down the Manchester right saw him send in an excellent flick shot which struck the Manchester crossbar and was cleared to safety. A fast break forward by Iosu Servent down the left, who was a consistent “thorn in the side” of the Peterborough defence, enabled him to create the space for a timely cross rink pass to the unmarked Sasha Aitken and he swept the ball into the net under the diving Tyler Salmon. Manchester 2 Peterborough 1.
A trip by Isaac Darwent-Black on Michael Carter as he broke through the centre of the Manchester defence saw the referee give him a blue card and award the direct hit. Michael took the responsibility of taking the hit but unfortunately for him he missed the target and the ball was scrambled to safety. The next action saw Luca Oakley and Josh Aaltonen exchange four passes in a move which created the space for Josh to venture forward and hit an unstoppable slapshot into the top right hand corner of the Manchester net. Manchester 2 Peterborough 2.
Another fast, determined break by Iosu Servent down Peterborough’s right saw him score an identical goal to his first of the match. As he shrugged off a Peterborough defender he attacked the goal and lifted the ball off the rink into the air and cleverly placed his shot delicately over the head of the Peterborough goalkeeper. Manchester 3 Peterborough 2.
This match was evenly poised throughout the first half and so Peterborough replied again through Josh Aaltonen. He patiently waited for the “carousel” to create the opening that he needed and he advanced confidently forward before striking another slapshot into the Manchester net. Manchester 3 Peterborough 3.
Half Time:- Manchester 3 Peterborough 3.
Iosu Servent picked up in the second half where he had left off in the first. Continually driving direct and hard into the Peterborough defence. From another of his determined sprints forward he left two Peterborough defenders in his wake and hit another fine slapshot into the top right hand corner of the Peterborough net. Manchester 4 Peterborough 3.
After the fourth Manchester goal was scored it was difficult to see how Peterborough were going to score any further goals as their attempts seemed to lack decisiveness. How wrong this was! As Manchester appeared to sit back and defend their lead, they gave the attacking impetus to their young opponents. In a three minute spell Peterborough banged in three goals. The first of these saw Luca Oakley advance with the ball over the half way line and just into the Manchester half. He unleashed a slapshot which the young Manchester goalie did well to get to, however, as the ball spun away from him and back into play the alert Harry Hillam was there to pounce and he made no mistake with the rebound. Manchester 4 Peterborough 4.
The belief was now back with the Peterborough players and they continued to press forward. A timely tackle won by Luca Oakley in defence saw him release a pass into the run of Michael Carter. A quick glance to his right together with a perfectly weighted pass to Josh Aaltonen and he struck another slapshot into the top right hand corner of the Manchester net. Manchester 4 Peterborough 5.
This last goal left Manchester reeling and for the first time they found themselves behind and having to find ways to get back into the match as Peterborough continued to press forward. From another break forward into to space by Michael Carter he was left with one Manchester defender between him and their goal. He calmly waited for the opportunity to get the defender and goalkeeper in a direct line and without any back lift of his stick picked his spot with an accurate flick shot into the top right hand corner of the net. Manchester 4 Peterborough 6.
Frustration was now starting to appear in some of Manchester’s play. A burst of speed from Harry Hillam took him past Isaac Darwent-Black. Isaac spun to try and stop Harry’s run but hooked Harry down for his second blue card of the game. Michael Carter, again, stepped forward to take the resultant direct hit. He cleverly worked his space in front of the Manchester goalie and confidently placed his shot into the net. Manchester 4 Peterborough 7.
It was then Peterborough’s turn to switch off their concentration. As Jacob Taylor went behind the Peterborough goal he looked to have his only option as a pass back up the rink to a colleague. However, he spun quickly as he rounded the second Peterborough goal post and tucked his shot into the net. Manchester 5 Peterborough 7.
At this stage of the game the Manchester team fouls count was heading alarmingly close to the ten penalty mark. Following a clumsy foul the tenth team foul was recorded. For the third time in this match, Michael Carter stepped forward to take the resulting direct hit. His first flick at goal was well saved by Souleyman Toure but the ball rebounded to Michael and he made no mistake with his second attempt. Manchester 5 Peterborough 8.
Manchester refused to give up this game and from another fast break by Iosu Servent he found Sasha Aitken, again unmarked in front of goal as he was for the second Manchester goal in the first half, and he swept his shot under the diving Anthony Williams in the Peterborough goal. Manchester 6 Peterborough 8.
Full Time:- Manchester 6 Peterborough 8.
Arthur Corr’s (Peterborough Coach) Man of the Match:- Josh Aaltonen – 4 Goals.
Peterborough struggled to cope with the pace, power and skill of the Manchester number 9, Iosu Servent. His performance (3 goals and 2 assists) merited that he should finish on the winning team.....but this was not to be.
Manchester had the opportunity to press home their advantage when going 4-3 up in this match. However, it looked as if they decided to sit back and defend their lead. This encouraged Peterborough to press forward more and in a devastating three minute period they banged in 3 goals to take them into a commanding position.
Manchester paid the price for showing their frustration at some of the team fouls that were awarded against them. For two of those team fouls they hit the ball away after each incident and the referees’ doubled the number of fouls to be recorded which took them up to the dreaded 10 team fouls penalty. This proved to be their downfall. As when you have an experienced “Direct” taker in Michael Carter he confidently stepped forward to score that goal and so put a sizeable gap between the scores of the two teams at 8 goals to 5.
What was very pleasing to watch, from a Peterborough point of view, was the way they never gave up the contest despite having to come back from being behind on four separate occasions. A lesser team would have folded against a physically stronger, more experienced opponent.
It was an exciting end to end game that was keenly contested, well refereed and had very few moments when the action lulled and quietened.
Peterborough now have one more Phase 1 Premier League match to play against Middlesbrough on Saturday 11th of March at Bushfields Leisure Centre in Peterborough.