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Olympic hockey pitch proves tricky for Bradford
Bradford felt hard done by following a 4-0 Premier Division defeat at Sheffield Hallam Thirds in the Yorkshire Men’s Hockey League.
What is traditionally a tough fixture was made even harder by the fact that the water-based former Olympic surface is now in use at Abbeydale Park.
Bradford struggled to adjust to the required style of play on this surface and soon found themselves 2-0 down, conceding early goals from a penalty corner and when a crossfield pass was intercepted.
The fourth-placed hosts have developed the right technique and, with their pace and good movement off the ball, always looked dangerous.
Mid-table Bradford weathered the storm and, towards the end of a difficult first half, had started to show that they were coming to terms with the surface.
At 2-0 down the game was far from over and, in a 20-minute spell after the break, Bradford had the home side on the back foot with some good attacking play.
They were unable to convert their two short corners but the pressure looked to have been rewarded after 50 minutes when Nick Smith turned to fire a fine strike into the far corner.
But the effort was unfortunately disallowed as the umpire thought he had seen a ‘back stick’ in the approach, something strenuously denied by the scorer.
This was a pivotal moment in the game as, to add insult to injury, the resulting free hit led to the hosts going 3-0 up, despite the umpire later apologising for missing the ball hitting a Hallam player’s foot.
Bradford went looking for a consolation but it was Hallam who had the final say from a mysteriously-awarded short corner.