The University of Sheffield Men’s Hockey 1s progressed into the last-16 of the BUCS Trophy after a comfortable 5-1 victory over MMU.
It is the second-time Sheffield have scored five goals against the Cheshire outfit this season having already beaten the visitors 5-2 in the league, but, despite dominating the proceedings at Goodwin, the opening 20 minutes tested the hosts’ patience.
Joe Kopka was denied by the goalkeeper’s legs as he closed in on the MMU goal, before the goalkeeper produced a terrific stretching save to deny the hosts again as Nick Hale’s shot from a penalty corner looked destined for the top right corner.
Sheffield were denied once more from a penalty corner; this time the goalkeeper needed help from his defence to block George Collier’s shot and clear Jack Culmer’s effort from off the line, before the ‘keeper made a good reflex save to deny the rebound.
It was only going to be a matter of time, before the hosts seized the advantage and their patience was rewarded in the 21st minute. Gavin Haseler broke the deadlock; redirecting Culmer’s pass into the net from close-range.
It wasn’t long before the hosts were celebrating again as Joe Kopka turned home Nick Hale’s pass beyond the reach of the MMU ‘keeper. Hale found the net himself four minutes later; taking advantage of Sheffield’s sixth penalty corner of the first-half.
Hale hit his shot with power, pace and precision into the back of the net and, barring a miraculous second-half comeback, Hale’s goal put the game beyond MMU at half-time. There was no sign of a potential comeback in the early exchanges of the second-half as Sheffield looked to extend their lead further.
The hosts spent most of the opening 10 minutes after the restart in and around MMU’s ‘D’ as Jack Coulson saw his close-range shot saved by the goalkeeper’s foot, before his rebound attempt hit the side of the goal.
Against the run of play, MMU pulled a goal back 10 minutes after the restart. After withstanding Sheffield’s pressure, Jack Townsend sprung a counter-attack, before rounding goalkeeper Matt Fetzer and shooting towards the net. With the Sheffield defence closing in, Shane Warren provided the finishing touch on the line to score what turned out to be only a consolation goal.
Jack Coulson restored the host’s three-goal advantage with just over 10 minutes to play. He reacted quickest to fire the rebound home after Sheffield’s penalty corner was initially saved.
Coulson scored his second and Sheffield’s fifth goal in the final few minutes to seal the victory and ensure Sheffield’s passage into the next round of the cup.
The men’s 1s will now travel to the University of Leeds in the last-16 of the BUCS Trophy, with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.
Jack Culmer, hockey men’s 1 captain, told Forge Sport: “We are very happy to have progressed into the next round. I was a little panicky 20 minutes into the game with all those chances flashing past the post; but in the end it could of and should have been a cricket score.”
“Leeds are a league above us so it will be a tough game, but we are aspiring to be in that league so it will be a really good test for us to see how we fare against them”, Culmer added.