SERVICES Workies flexed their muscles ahead of the finals with a five-goal final-round Northern Hockey Premier League win over South United on Sunday.
The game never really reached any great heights, with Workies always looking in control and running out 8-3 victors.
South was playing for a spot in the finals but Workies coach Simon Massey thought the effort wasn’t really there from South and didn’t really take a lot out of the game.
South managed to hold them at bay until midway through the first half but once they got that first goal the game really opened up.
Workies were at full strength for just the second time this season and did try to nut out a few things ahead of their semi-final against Tudor West next week.
“We tried to work on some defensive structures up front for the way we want to take on Tudors,” Massey said.
They were pretty successful for the first 20 minutes.
At the back though they weren’t as clean as Massey would have liked.
“We had some defensive lapses in the first half to concede two goals,” Massey said.
“We won’t be able to do that next week.”
South coach Barrie Pritchard said it was always going to be difficult for them.
“They’re clearly the best team at the moment,” he said.
“But I thought we played pretty well considering we were under-strength.”
Their main problem in the first half was that they allowed Workies too much latitude in attack, and they punished them for it.
“We gave them a lot of room,” Pritchard said.
He said for two of their first-half goals, they virtually let them run into the circle.
The second half they were better in that regard, well for most of the second half. Workies’ strikers did find a lot of space in the latter part of the half.
The other thing they did poorly, Pritchard said, was when Workies counter-attacked against them, they made some good tackles and got some good turnovers but they’d give it straight back to them.
“Fifty per cent of the time we did that, our first pass was straight to them,” Pritchard said.
He changed a few things around positionally and thought Cameron Clout played really well at left half when he came on midway through the first half.
“I was impressed with his effort and running,” he said.
It enabled him to push Jack Massey up to a centre striker role. He made a big difference to their attack.
“We made a lot of good runs into their defence,” Pritchard said.
But they couldn’t quite finish them off.
Pritchard said Nick McIlveen was also good.
He’s been one of their most consistent defenders and made some good interceptions.
The loss ruled South out of the finals but there were a lot of positives from the season.
They played a lot better hockey, Pritchard said, than in the past couple of years.