Saturday 21 / Sunday 22 February 2015
P10 W7 D0 L3 F24 A20 Pts 21
Ladies’ 1xi WON 5-1 vs Brentwood 1xi. SCORERS: ANA COSTMANAGA X3, ELIZABETH REAY, LOUISA RHODES
Stortford Ladies 1s took on Brentwood at home this weekend in the first of three catch up games which could help them start climbing the table again.
Stortford were straight out of the blocks in the first half and some quality passing all the way to the D saw us nearly take the lead within the first minute. The half continued with Stortford dominating the match and the work from our forwards created plenty of opportunity but no reward came for the sustained pressure. Brentwood occasionally tested us but the defence stayed strong and kept out two short corners. 0-0 at half time.
Stortford came back out knowing they had to keep their heads, play another strong half and the goals would eventually come. Soon after the restart the rewards came and a rebound from Lexie Guthrie came was put in by Captain Louisa Rhodes to open the flood gates. Buff (Elizabeth Reay) was next in line to slot one home from the p-spot and her goal was quickly followed by a classy reverse stick shot from Ana Costamagna. Having put the first one in there was no stopping Ana and a shot from top of the D saw Stortford take it to 4-0. To their credit Brentwood continued to fight and were rewarded by a short corner which was deflected in at the far post. Stortford again stepped up the pressure and some quality passing play followed by a totally unselfish (nothing to do with the jug down the pub a after) slip left from Sally Powell to Man of the Match Costamagna saw her complete the hat trick and end the game 5-1.
Next week Stortford travel away to Old Loughts
Men’s 1st xi – Bye week
Ladies’ 2xi WON 3-1 vs Harpenden 2xi. SCORERS: ZOE BARFORD, FRAN PETTENGELL, BETH FARRANT
Stortford travelled to Harpenden prepared for a tough game having been bested 0-6 in the home encounter earlier in the season. However, this time there was a calm assurance by a Stortford side who were ready and raring to fight back and stake their promotion credentials. The match opened with Stortford taking on a lot of the possession in the first half and this soon translated into a lead as a lovely cross from Fran Pettengell was clipped in from Zoe Barford. Taking the lead did wonders for boosting the ladies’ positivity and it wasn’t long before a cracking strike from Beth Farrant saw Stortford secure a second. Two is often followed by Three and so it proved on Saturday as an outstanding long ball was hit halfway up the pitch by the legendary sweeper that is Paula Frenzel to Fran Pettengell who finished the job. Half time brought a dominant 3-0 scoreline, but also a heavy hailstorm, and whilst the home side managed to pull one back, the ladies continued to put in a courageous display until the final whistle.
Men’s 2nd xi WON 2-1 vs Winchmore Hill & Enfield 1xi. SCORERS: VERNON BROWN, RICK OAKLEY
The Men's 2nd XI escape from relegation continued this weekend after a 2-1 victory at Winchmore Hill & Enfield made it two wins in two games. Stortford started strong, controlling possession and putting the Winchmore Hill backline under pressure early on.
After just 5 minutes, the visitors were awarded a short corner and from the resulting set piece took a 1-0 lead. Gregg Pettit received the ball on the right hand side of the 'D' and drew defenders toward him, before crossing to the opposite post, where Rick Oakley was able to sweep the ball past the keeper.
Despite continuing to dominate, Stortford were unable to add to their slender lead before the interval.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, Stortford saw a two goal advantage slip away to end in a draw, so they were determined not to let this one go.
Like the first half, Stortford were the more adventurous and created a number of chances, so it was only a matter of time before they doubled their tally. An exchange of passes between Pettit and Mark Taylor around the edge of the semi-circle split the Winchmore defence, so when the ball was fed into Vernon Brown, he had time to set himself, before burying his shot into the back of the net.
Despite pulling a goal back, there was no such comeback for Winchmore Hill & Enfield this time round as only ten seconds remained on the clock and Stortford saw the game out to take all three points.
Next week the Men's 2nd XI play hosts to promotion hopefuls, Shefford & Sandy.
Ladies’ 3xi LOST 0-4 vs Saffron Walden 3xi
Men’s 3xi WON 2-0 vs Hertford 2xi. SCORERS: JOE SYMONDS, DAN CHAPMAN
This was probably the most enjoyable match of the year, by agreement with the opposition! Feisty and tight, with excellent umpiring from Spud and Ali, the game remained locked at 0-0 until late on, when Joe Symonds stole through and scored from the top of the D, breaking the deadlock. This was followed by some excellent, unselfish work by Paul Tomlin who released Dan Chapman for a close finish to seal the victory. Shilts dominated the defence, picking up the aerial bombardment and blocking the opposition on the floor, whilst Simon Martyn, in goal, blocked well and protected his goal from all-comers.
Decision-of-the-day saw Graham Farrant remaining in the dug-out for the first 15 minutes, until the hail storm had blown over, while the rest of the team wondered where the white lines had gone!
The whole team kept up their effort levels until the very end, working for each other and pushing a very strong Hertford team all the way. We are now strongly positioned for the run-in, with the short trip to Luton Town next week...
Ladies’ 4xi LOST 0-7 vs Stevenage 3xi
Men’s 4xi LOST 1-2 vs Rickmansworth 1xi. SCORER: JT
Another game Stortford ought to have won. A strong Stortford team belied their bottom place in the table against second-placed Rickmansworth with a dominant display in the first half. The midfield controlled the game breaking up Rickmansworth attacks and distributing to the wide players of the centre forward to move smoothly into attack, Despite a prominent performance from Ed Patton and several open play opportunities and short corners which lead to several great pieces of last ditch defending from Rickmansworth, the half ended goalless.
Rickmansworth had always looked dangerous on the break in the first half with their excellent centre forward being really well managed by Mark Whittingdale. However, after the break they stepped up their performance and Stortford were not able to repeat theirs of the first half. The visitors scored two goals and left Stortford searching for a toe-hold in the game. They achieved that through a penalty stroke for a foot on the line (which was typical of the committed Rickmansworth defending - and possibly not the first Stortford should have had), which was duly converted. Stortford pressed in the last 10 minutes but never really threatened.
Men’s 5xi won 1-0 vs West Herts 6xi (Saturday) SCORER: BADGER
The 5th team trip to Watford was made challenging by the non-arrival of 3 players (including the goalie) until half time due to a breakdown on the M25. Despite this, and due to a passionate response from the remaining 9 players. The 5th team went into half time 1-0 up. A great performance worthy of MoM to all who took part. The only Stortford short corner coming in the last 5 minutes of the half, with James Brocks putting the ball away.
With the arrival of the cavalry the game settled down in the second half. Chances spurned on both sides and particularly a large number of short corners for West Herts. A great result, especially for those who fashioned the result in the first half.
Men’s 5xi won 7-3 vs Blueharts 5xi (Sunday) SCORERS: NICK SLOWE X4, BADGER, CHRIS SLACK X2
Bishop’s Stortford welcomed a strong Blueharts side full of running and skill. But following on from the previous days battling effort they were not to be beaten and played some fine hockey to put away 7 goals, all well constructed.The first half set off at a frenetic pace and Blueharts were first on the score board, however strikes from Slowe and Slack brought the game round and with visitors Rick Carr and Ross Haworth from the 6s playing hockey in support that is how the half ended.
In the second half the game opened up as Blueharts pressed higher to pressure the defence, who played well all afternoon, stepping in front of the oncoming forwards and ensuring that attacks were repelled. This did however leave their defence overwhelmed as Stortford broke at pace helped by the youth policy of Jonathon Barber, Ross Butler and Oliver Newman. .However the 5s shipped two goals from strong attacks, one from a short where the ball went in via the goalie’s now broken helmet and the other from a loose ball from the defence straight to the Blueharts forwards. Stortford however were up to the challange and scored 5 of their own, Slowe with an additional 3, Slack with another to complete his brace and James Brocks firing a short corner past the goal keeper.
A fantastic result and a great game of hockey. Most pleasing was the style of the goals neatly played to the forwards who were able to pass in the D round the goal keeper
Men’s 6xi won 3-1 vs Rickmansworth 4xi SCORERS: SAM TAYLOR X2, RICK CARR.
With a raft of injuries and half term in full flow, it was a decidedly more mature 6th team this week. Would the wealth of experience be enough to secure a win for the Mighty 6's? Only the following 70 minutes would tell. From the off the game looked to be completely Stortford's, with a golden opening 25 mins of play from the home side. The 6's attacked fiercely, defended well and made good plays to dominate their opposition. With Rickmansworth contained to their half of the pitch it was only a matter of minutes before Sam Taylor opened the gates, with a neatly converted penalty corner.
Stortford continued to maintain control and this was shortly followed by a second, with a Sam Taylor mishit completely blindsiding Rickmansworth's keeper to find the back of the net. A Rick Carr lob of the prone opposition keeper followed to put the home side 3-0 ahead and, at this point, it seemed like we could be in for another goal spectacular. Unfortunately it was here that the tide started to turn for the 6th XI. With tired legs and substitutions, including a rare centre mid outing for the club’s oldest player, the home side lost structure leading to a complete change in fortunes. Rickmansworth were able to capitalise and catch-out an overrun defence, leading to an easily scored goal at the back post from an unmarked defender. With play becoming frantic from both sides, Stortford were now on the back foot and, although the defence regrouped, it wasn't until 10 minutes into the second half that they pulled themselves back into the game and pushed the ball out of their own half.
In the final stretch, the 6's managed to control the game better, with Rickmansworth resorting to a long-ball game that was effectively contained. However this was still a fair distance from the confident, composed play of the opening minutes. Overall it was a tougher win for the Home side than the score line may suggest and, in the opening section at least, another good performance from a reinvigorated team. However it also highlighted how easily these things can sometimes fall apart, as this was certainly a match that could have gone either way. But, if the team can learn from this experience and keep their heads and their structure over the coming weeks, there is no reason why they can't continue their unbeaten run. In terms of performances this week it was another good week upfront for Sam Taylor and Rick Carr, who both had success in front of the goal, joined enthusiastically by Graham Perry and James Nash. Across midfield there were welcome returns from injury for both Simon Radbourne and David Cooper who joined Nigel Taylor and John Gould to provide some midfield strength. In defence Ross Howarth again coordinated well, with Captain Duncan Laws making a guest appearance at Right Back (although the less said about that Rickmansworth goal, the better) and Rob Gill, displaying the skills for which he is known, at Left Back. Man of the match this week though was David Collins, making a welcome turn-out for the 6’s. With a ferocious display in Centre Midfield it felt like he was literally everywhere, providing a both a solid backbone for the team’s finest minutes on the pitch and a notable absence when he was on the bench. Commendations also for another fine display in goal from ‘keeper Jon Jackson, with his recent training session with the 1’s having definitely shown an impact.