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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Play-off Hopes on Hold for Wolves

LIVERPOOL Wolves’ hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs will have to be put on hold for another week after they were beaten 25-20 by Leeds Hornets in the National League Northern Section on Sunday.

Both teams kept scoring at the beginning of the match. This wasn't Liverpool Wolves’ plan, who were hoping their previously successful 5:1 defence would bear better results than that.

However, both left half and left winger from Leeds, polish players Ivojciech Bienias and Marcin Cwik proved too difficult to mark for the young Liverpool defence and kept scoring throughout the half with not much opposition.

On the other side of the court, Liverpool Wolves struggled with an old enemy of theirs: missing clear shots on the goal. Both Leeds goalkeepers excelled in the game and stopped Liverpool Wolves from being able to keep up with Leeds scoring run.

Towards the end of the half, Liverpool Wolves switched to a deep defence marking the top Leeds players, and that halted Leeds attack. Unfortunately, sometimes due to an aggressive Leeds defence and sometimes due to their own fault, the Wolves kept missing shots and the goal difference remained three-up for Leeds at half time.

The second half started as the previous one finished. Liverpool Wolves kept marking Leeds’ two best players. Things were not going to get better for Leeds unless the other players in the court stepped up to the occasion and were able to be dangerous and score goals. And so they did.

Kami Katebi and Danial Skuza kept moving without the ball to achieve penetrations against a sometimes paralysed back defence from Liverpool. Leeds kept finding gaps, and so the distance between the teams grew bigger, as Liverpool's attack didn't get much better, with missing shots from almost every position, including line, wing, half, centre and even penalties!

Mid-way through the second half the Leeds players started to get tired and their aggressive defence became sometimes too dangerous. The referees started giving them two minutes with 10 minutes to finish the game, but Liverpool only managed to cut the goal difference by three and the final score was a victory for Leeds: 20-25.

This victory leaves the table very open in the fight for the third place for the play offs. Deva, with three matches to go, and Leeds and Liverpool Wolves, with two each, can all still go through if they win their remaining games.

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