National Cup heartache for Pelicans

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Pelicans bowed out of the England Hockey Tier II National Cup at the quarter-final stage for a third successive season on Sunday.Cheered on by a large crowd, the home side put in a huge shift but were well beaten by their visitors from Hertfordshire.Although they lost 6-1 reaching the last eight of the competition is no mean feat for Pelicans up against National League quality teams.The team, managed by Charlie Lankfer on the sidelines and Chris Hallum, the on-field captain, knew they would be facing a big challenge.The club’s progress shows that Pelicans Hockey Club has the ambition and ability to compete with the best in the country.Right from the start, the home side found themselves under pressure from a very experienced and talented attacking force.Conceding quite early in the game, the home defensive line was very much going to take the brunt of the action it seemed.With Blueharts playing a very high-pressing game, Pelicans had to work on counterattack opportunities, with plenty of link-up play between the midfield and forward line.But any opportunity that fell could not be finished and at half-time Pelicans found themselves down 4-0.Come the second half, Pelicans still had a lot of fight in them and took the game to their visitors.The home side gained several short corners but failed to hit the back of the goal, due to some fantastic goalkeeping.As the host outfit became under more pressure to score, gaps started to appear in the midfield and backline.This played in Blueharts’ favour on the break, scoring two more goals in succession.Wayne Masters did manage to find a consolation goal but by this point, it was too little, too late.

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