Chesterfield coach happy with draw as hockey title race hots up
Player/coach Christian Battye was happy after an absorbing contest between Chesterfield and one of their main title rivals ended in a goalless draw.
It was high-quality stuff as Chesterfield entertained Olton and West Warwick 2nd in the Second Division of the Midland Men’s Hockey League.
And although the two sides cancelled each other out, Battye was content that it left his outfit in third spot, only a point behind Olton and leaders Telford and Wrekin, who face each other this weekend.
He said: “We knew a draw would be good enough because Olton and Telford play each other next, so a 0-0 score is fine by me.
“It’s the first time we’ve set up with a draw in mind, but when you are up against some of the quality they’ve got, you have to adapt.
“Our discipline was superb and we kept the tone of the game how we wanted. We’ve put ourselves in a great position. It’s all in our hands now”.
The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges and were close to opening the scoring, but Johnny Hancock saw his effort brilliantly saved by the Olton ‘keeper.
The midfield trio of Harvey Bessell, Joe Morton and Hancock proved to be a potent counter-attacking weapon, while Dan Molloy was a constant nuisance in the forward-line. Although they enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession, Chesterfield were unable to make the breakthrough as the half-time whistle blew.
Olton took the game to the hosts in the second half and created the clearer chances, with Chesterfield content to play on the break.
Will Murphy was the busier of the ‘keepers but dealt with everything that came his way, including repelling several penalty corners.
For their part, the home side still posed a threat and Jack Hartley was unlucky not to score with a powerful backhand shot.
With the clock winding down, Chesterfield were marshalled brilliantly by another intelligent performance from Tasmanian import Aiden Van Staden, who pulled the strings from deep.
Just as it seemed the game would peter out, Chesterfield produced one final push and were awarded a penalty corner with time gone. It was not to be, however, as Olton held firm under the pressure to clear the ball.
This Saturday, Chesterfield travel to bottom three side, Khalsa Leamington.