Wimbledon 2 (2)
Mannheimer 2 (1)
Wimbledon win 5-3 in a shootout
Wimbledon reached the final four of the Euro Hockey League in dramatic fashion, winning a shootout with Mannheimer 5-3 after the match ended 2-2 at the end of normal time in Eindhoven on Easter Monday.
Regular time goals came from Simon Mantell and Ian Sloan, while shootout goals were from Ian Sloan, Stefan Ebbers, Phil Roper, Simon Mantell and Phil Ball. Goalkeeper James Bailey saved two of Mannheimer's shootout attempts.
“We came here this weekend with a real belief,” said Wimbledon’s man of the match Jonny Kinder. “We didn’t think we were favourites, but we had a clear game plan and everybody executed it which is fantastic.
“We’ve got so many players capable of doing very special things, but this was a team performance and everyone contributed. Reaching the final four is new territory for us, and we’re really proud.”
After Phil Ball had a penalty corner shot deflected over the goal on four minutes, it was the German outfit who drew first blood after 13 minutes, Gonzalo Peillat scoring from a penalty corner.
And they nearly doubled their lead in similar style on 26 minutes, but their shot was blocked by the Wimbledon defence.
Wimbledon were beginning to turn their patience into productivity, and they threatened on 26 minutes with two long corners being awarded.
Then on 28 minutes, Phil Ball’s shot was blocked by a defender, and the video umpire judged that his original shot was heading goalwards, so a penalty stroke was awarded which double GB Olympian Simon Mantell blasted into the net, despite the Mannheimer goalkeeper getting to the ball.
Now level at 1-1, Wimbledon took the lead on 29 minutes through Ian Sloan. Phil Roper made a surging run and out-paced several Mannheimer defenders, before Sloan pulled back the ball across goal, where a defender put it in the net.
After half time, the third quarter saw both teams trying to control the pace, and the best chance for Wimbledon came as Jonny Kinder just got a stick to a long cross from outside the D, but he couldn’t put it in the net despite being behind the goalkeeper and only a matter of inches from the line.
The fourth quarter began in controversial style, with Michael Hoare conceding a penalty corner on 48 minutes, and an unsuccessful video referral caused Wimbledon to lose that privilege for the rest of the game.
The resulting penalty corner was fired high over the net, but Mannheimer had stepped up a gear and began to enjoy more of the ball.
Both sides enjoyed several chances as Mannheimer pushed for an equaliser and Wimbledon looked to capitalise on any cracks as their rivals pushed forward, and the English side had a 51st minute penalty corner deflected away by the goalkeeper.
A defensive lapse from Wimbledon on 55 minutes came at the worst possible time, as a cross from outside the D was deflected home by Jonathan Ehling with little in the way of defence.
With five minutes left, both sides pushed on in a bid to avoid a shootout, but neither goal keeper was troubled in the final five minutes.
In the shootout, Ian Sloan scored the opening shot, but Mannheimer equalised after Jan Philipp Fischer’s first attempt was retaken after a rebound off the post hit the back of James Bailey’s stick.
Stefan Ebbers span round and scored past Spack in the Mannheimer goal to leave Wimbledon 2-1 ahead, but Patrick Harris levelled for the Germans.
Phil Roper confidently made it 3-2, and James Bailey battled well to deny Mannheimer an equaliser.
Simon Mantell’s reverse stick shot just as time ran down put Wimbledon 4-2 ahead, and although Guido Barreiros narrowed the gap to 4-3, Phil Ball scored the crucial fifth goal and sparked celebrations for Wimbledon.
You can watch Wimbledon at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre as they battle it out in the League Finals this weekend! Tickets now on sale!