Two goals in the final three minutes from sensation Jack Holland has lifted the Adelaide Fire off the canvas to secure their inaugural JDH Hockey One League victory away to HC Melbourne.
On a night where the HC Melbourne women clinched a second consecutive season win, it was a local-product in Fire goalkeeper Jed Snowden who laid the foundations for Holland’s come-from-behind heroics.
Speaking post-match after securing their first ever Hockey One League win after fourteen matches, Fire captain Fred Gray was full of pride after responding from last week’s10-2 loss to the Brisbane Blaze.
“We showed signs last week with positive movements, so we knew we just needed to work a bit harder and be a bit smarter in our counterattack defence,” Gray said.
“We were positive at half-time by looking at the score and now everyone is just stoked to get the result and we just worked hard to get over the line.”
There had been danger signs for the visitors early in the contest, particularly when Cooper Burns thrashed a tomahawk strike into the roof of the net after just five minutes, but Fire keeper Snowden did well to deny the conversion attempt.
Burns and Kookaburra Craig Marais both came close with good opportunities as HC Melbourne enjoyed the weight of momentum to half-time but ultimately squandered their goal scoring chances.
After 37 minutes the hosts finally extended their lead to 2-0 with Josh Simmonds ripping an unstoppable penalty corner flick home.
But it would be the last time Snowden would be denied, with the National Development Squad member putting his case for higher honours up in lights.
Seemingly inspired, the Fire scored on the three quarter time siren when debutant Kyton Rayner dived to touch home a well-placed penalty corner flick from New Zealand teammate Charl Ulrich to draw the sides within a goal.
HC Melbourne would be repelled by Snowden with their next four set piece opportunities, before the match was turned on it’s head and the home crowd stunned.
After a quiet performance it was a case of cometh the moment, cometh the man for the player affectionately nicknamed Hollywood, with Holland single handedly turning the game on its head.
After being fed inside the circle by Gray, Holland lashed home over an encroaching defence to level the scores up, only to waste his conversion opportunity.
With the match seemingly headed for a shootout, a quick-fire incisive pass from the Fire was deflected in first-time by Holland to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with just 12 seconds remaining on the clock.
As Holland again proved he’s human by sending his conversion opportunity wayward, the Fire squad rejoiced in their maiden victory in a comeback for the ages.
Earlier, the defensive work of HC Melbourne’s Ciara Utri was instrumental to the women’s home side opening their JDH Hockey One campaign with consecutive victories, as they edged out the Adelaide Fire 2-1.
A sublime aerial pass from Josie Lawton set the foundation for teammate Olivia Downes to earn HC Melbourne’s opening penalty corner.
With the ensuing set piece, a brilliant Joanne Peeters spin manoeuvre set up Downes to slam home a drag flick from closer range and open the scoring after eight minutes.
The visitors forced Utri into a classy defensive penalty corner save shortly after, before Adelaide Fire forward Miki Spano proceeded to make a nuance of herself, forcing the next three set pieces chances for her side.
At the third time of calling, Spano’s endeavours were rewarded with Lucy Sharman deceiving HC Melbourne captain Rachael Lynch to level the scores at 1-1 in the 37th minute.
But the weight of attacking forays from the hosts would ultimately tell in the shadows of three quarter time, with a penalty corner breakdown sent goalward by Krissy Bates and deflected home by Hannah Gravenall.
Hockeyroo star Jane Claxton pushed hard to help the Fire find a leveller, with Utri again denying Sharman from a set piece before an opportunity at the death was well negotiated by Lynch to seal a tight 2-1 win.
“We defended well, especially with Ciz (Utri) on the line and June (Lynch) in the net, so we kept our fans on their toes and got away with the win, which is good,” Gravenall said.
“Adelaide made it hard for us at the end there with the corner, but the girls did really well to keep it so, so that was really good,” Player of the Match Utri added post-game.
Every match of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season is LIVE and free on 7plus.
Match report courtesy of Adam Clifford.
Hockey Club Melbourne 2 (Downes 9′, Gravenall 45′)
Adelaide Fire 1 (Sharman 37′)
Friday 13 October 2023
Melbourne Sports Centre – Parkville
Hockey Club Melbourne Women’s team: 2.Aisling Utri, 3.Nicola Hammond, 4.Amy Lawton, 5.Krissy Bates, 6.Josie Lawton, 7.Ciara Utri, 8.Jessie Dean, 10.Rosario Villagra, 11.Joanne Peeters, 12.Emily Hamilton-Smith, 13.Megan Alakus, 14.Laura Barden, 15.Olivia Downes, 25.Hannah Gravenall (c), 27.Rachael Lynch (gk)
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 2.Brittany Wang, 3.Sherilyn Cass, 4.Hattie Shand, 5.Holly Evans-Gill, 6.Euleena Maclachlan (c), 8.Miki Spano, 9.Marjolein Ceulen, 11.Lucy Sharman, 12.Erin Cameron, 17.Katie Sharkey, 18.Anna Crowley, 22.Zoe Newman (gk), 25.Jane Claxton, 26.Linzi Appleyard, 27.Gabriella Mitreska
Match Details – Men’s Match
Hockey Club Melbourne 2 (Burns 5′, Simmonds 36′)
Adelaide Fire 3 (Rayner 45′, Holland 57’/60′)
Friday 13 October 2023
Melbourne Sports Centre – Parkville
Hockey Club Melbourne Men’s team: 1.Craig Marais, 4.Liam Henderson, 5.Douglas Buckley, 6.Damon Steffens (c), 7.Nathan Ephraums, 8.Lachlan Steinfort, 9.Nathan Copey, 10.Brad Marais, 11.Cooper Burns, 12.Connar Otterbach, 13.Jayshaan Randhawa, 15.Josh Simmonds, 18.Johan Durst (gk), 20.Nye Roberts, 22.Ben White
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 1.Kieran Govers, 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 3.Lucas Toonen, 4.Jack Holland, 6.Matthew Magann, 7.Peter Scott, 9.Fred Gray (c), 10.Lachlan Arneil, 11.Kyton Rayner, 12.Mitchell Dell, 14.Fraser Heigh, 16.Hugh Snowden, 17.Charl Ulrich, 21.Jed Snowden (gk), 25.Jethro Eustice