A sterling second-half performance from Magdalen helped booked their place in the hockey cuppers quarter-finals against a resolute Balliol team on a freezing Sunday afternoon. With temperatures low and rain occasionally turning to hail at a wet Iffley Road, four second-half goals from the team in black proved too much for a Balliol team who certainly had the more vocal of the two supports, with every attack being cheered on by injured captain Toby Kennon.
The team from Broad Street had the better of a cagey opening fifteen minutes, as the two sides, boosted by the addition of several Blues players, jostled for control of the midfield without creating any clear-cut chances. Just as it looked as though Balliol were beginning to exploit the space behind their opponent’s defence, however, it was Magdalen who took the lead from a short corner, with a low shot being deflected in a the far post.
The goal seemed to lift Magdalen, who could have doubled their lead when a goalmouth scramble ended with a reverse effort being scooped over the bar from just a few yards out. As the half-time whistle sounded, however, it looked as though the match was in the balance, with the next goal the key.
Having grown into the game as the first half went on, it was Magdalen who started the brighter in the second half, and the pressure paid off when a well-worked move ended with a drilled shot beating the Balliol ‘keeper at his far post. Balliol pressed higher in search of an equalizer, but Magdalen stayed solid and added a third with a clinical finish after they pounced on a Balliol sixteen-yard hit.
Balliol continued to push forward however, and their efforts, and those of their support, was rewarded when this time a break down in the Magdalen sixteen saw the Balliol striker peel off the Magdalen defence and guide the ball inside the far post. With just under ten minutes to go there was still a glimmer of hope for the team in red, but any chances of a comeback were dashed as Magdalen added two more goals in quick succession.
A brave cup run from Balliol had finally come to an end in the face of an impressive performance from a Magdalen team that will amongst the favourites to go all the way this year.