After 3 weeks without training and 6 weeks since the last match, the AKITA team was pretty much jumping in the unknown. The situation was being made worse by many forfeits because of traveling or illness reducing the squad size to 9 only with Wan being the only keeper. Markus started on the left wing, Norbert moved from centre to left half to compensate for Stefan absence, Ulf returned in the centre, PA temped for unwell Hans in half right whereas Dominik started on the right wing. Matsuo kept his line position. Michael and Rolf were completing the team sheet.
Despite being obviously rusty, the AKITA team started well in attack. Norbert drew first blood with a good penetration. Unfortunately, HYDRO was able to answer immediately as AKITA defense was lacking practice in this tinkered configuration. PA restored the advantage with an 8 meter shot but once again HYDRO was able to equalise. The teams were close as PA second goal and Matsuo first were also matched making it 4 - 4 after 5 minutes. As the HYDRO defense was moving higher, the AKITA pass became more random and this benefited their opponents who intercepted few balls and built the first gap of the match on fastbreaks. Markus scored on his first shot of the wing but with Wan making excellent parade, AKITA was just not getting the bounces and rather than capitalising on these stops was letting HYDRO score on the rebounds and build a 3 goal gap. PA's hip shot before going to rest on the bench made it 6 - 8 but soon it was a 4 goal difference. Except the impeccable shooting of Markus who added another, nothing seemed to go AKITA way. With 4 minutes to go, the score was 12 - 7. A PA goal followed by 2 HYDRO goals meant a 8 - 14 half time score.
With a six goal deficit at half time, it was a big tally to face but all players were convinced that it was possible to climb back. Unfortunately, the Team was still struggling to make an impact. Despite goals by Norbert and Markus, HYDRO managed to expand the gap to 8 goals with 20 minutes to play (18 - 10). With their back on the wall, AKITA finally found the right mix in defense. Between interception, blocks and keeper saves, HYDRO just could not get a goal anymore for the following 10 minutes. This allowed a string of 7 unanswered goals. The left side of AKITA was doing a lot of damage as Markus and Norbert traded 4 before Ulf found space in the defense for his first one. Norbert's movement and energy was making a big impact, he added 2 more to reach 17 - 18 and allow a completely new match to start with 10 minutes to go.
Hydro finally scored to restore a 2 goal advantage but Markus kept on finding the right space to stay within one. Michael jumped higher than the defense to find the space and his 2 successive goals made score 20 - 20 with five minutes to play. AKITA was then given a chance to move in front as they intercepted the ball and were running in the fast break but a traveling under the pressure of a push was whistled against AKITA. HYDRO immediately managed to use that to come back in front. Another turnover mad it 22 -20 with 3 minutes to go. Matsuo reduced the score but another assassin shot from the Hydro wing almost sealed the match with one minute to go. A penalty converted by Norbert made it 22 - 23 but the HYDRO team just had to hold on to the ball for 15 seconds to register the first win against AKITA of any team this year.
In the AKITA camp, it was the disappointment that was prevailing. Disappointment not to have concluded what could have been a magnificent return but also the impression for all of the players that they had the chance at a moment or another to score one more or concede one less. The team will have to bounce immediately as they are playing on the following WE and cannot lose more points on the way. Hopefully between new and returning players, the squad will be deeper for that occasion.
Norbert 7, Markus 6, PA 4, Michael 2, Matsuo 2, Ulf 1