Bishop's Stortford Hockey Club - Match Reports 2015214

P9 W5 D1 L3 F32 A16

SATURDAY 14th FEBRUARY 2015

P9 W5 D1 L3 F32 A16 Pts 16

L1 v St Albans 2   SCORE: 1-2   GOALSCORER: Suman Bala Garg

This weekend saw a highly anticipated, fast-paced game against top of the league side St Albans that did not fail to disappoint the spectators.   An intense first half showed some brilliant hockey from both teams. Stortford defended relentlessly leaving it difficult for St Albans to find a way through until the end of the first half. Stortford were caught on the back foot allowing the opposition to break through and slot the ball into the back of the net. This was closely followed by a goal in the opening minutes of the second half. A defensive lapse from the home side, still seemingly half asleep from the half time team talk, allowed the away team to capitalise and flick the ball over the keeper to put themselves 2-0 ahead. Moments later Suman Bala Garg was awarded a dubious yellow card for a high stick and Stortford had to battle it out with ten men for the second week in a row.

Stortford got straight back into the game with some fantastic passing, skilful play with the team linking play up brilliantly all over the pitch, resulting in a scintillating team attack from Player of the match - Lexie Guthrie at the back to Anna Swan on the right who played the ball down the line to Sally Powell who intelligently and skilfully won the team a penalty short corner. This was smashed into the back of the St Albans goal by Garg to give the home team a great chance to get themselves back into the game. Stortford applied a lot of pressure and continued to play excellent hockey but unfortunately were unable to take advantage of a renewed belief.

It was a fantastic team performance and a great battle by everyone. Unfortunately it was not their day but doubtless they will take the fighting spirit through to another home game on the 21st against Brentwood.

Brentwood 1 v M1   SCORE: 1-5   GOALSCORERS:  Alex Palmer (3), Mark Taylor, Vernon Brown.

This week’s abbreviated match report: Brentwood wore red // And Stortford wore blue // Stort soon went ahead; and // Finished there too.

In the words of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, “even miracles take a little time”.  After a turbulent autumn, Phil Mathison’s men have strung together an impressive run that sees them undefeated in the league since mid-November. Bouncing back from the disappointment of drawing last week with lowly Colchester, the team produced one of the best combinations of performance and result in the season to date. However, the prematch preparations were some way from ideal: the squad was reduced due to half term absences; a mysterious boycott of Tesco delayed the team talk; the captain was battling illness; and as Stortford arrived on the pitch it was evident that the match balls were in shorter supply than a gas station valentine’s card on Saturday morning.

Stortford nearly paid the price for this lackadaisical approach. The pitch was fast but slick and in the opening moments, more than one player did a passable imitation of Bambi on ice. Of more concern was a well worked Brentwood move which saw a clear shooting opportunity well smothered by David Butcher. After the initial scares, Stortford began to dominate proceedings and it wasn’t long before Alex Palmer brought the ball across his body and made no mistake with a neat reverse finish to take the lead. Moments later, a vibrant Vernon Brown lobbed the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper, only to see the ball drop the wrong side of the post. Nevertheless, Brentwood were still in the game; a penalty corner evaded Butcher but was calmly cleared off the line by Sam Ecott. At the other end, Andy Round reacted well to a messy injection and dispatched a powerful shot goalbound and was only denied by a defender’s illegal block. Alex Palmer stepped up to dispatch a champagne finish from the penalty spot high into the Brentwood net. 2-0 looked comfortable, perhaps too much so, and the visitors let Brentwood back into the game. The cricket world cup earlier in the day had highlighted that even 3 umpires supported by a wealth of technology don't always get every decision right, but faced by perceived injustices closer to home, Stortford allowed frustration to get the better of them which culminated in Phil Mathison taking a team green card for dissent and a couple of unexpected opportunities for Brentwood from penalty corners. Stortford paid the price for one of these as a slip variation gave Brentwood a foothold towards getting back into the match as a reverse finish found the goal.

Stortford came out from half time determined to prove that the 2-1 scoreline at that point did not reflect their performance. The visitors continued their dominance in midfield. Never mind love, for Will Goldsworthy, the left was an open door, as he carved up the Brentwood defence moving forward and demonstrated a strength in defence that belied his physical presence. Vernon Brown showed you’re never too old to be young as he dropped back into a midfield role that Brentwood couldn’t contend with. As he burst forwards and penetrated the circle on the right shoulder, Brown shot as true as Cupid’s arrow to give Stortford a 3-1 cushion. Knowing from bitter experience in recent years, that a two goal lead is not always enough, Stortford were keen to keep their foot on the pedal. By contrast, Brentwood were now reduced to Van Gaal-esque long ball hockey hoping that if they could keep on believing the dreams they wished would come true. They did earn a few more corners, but Butcher marshalled his defensive unit well and there was no significant threat on goal. Finally the Stortford reward came as another surging run from Brown cleaved the Brentwood defence in two; the cross was perfect and Palmer slammed home Stortford’s fourth to complete his hattrick with 12 minutes to go. As the Stortford side were able to relax and enjoy their hockey for the final minutes of the game, some free flowing passing developed and Mark Taylor added another with a brutal reverse stick finish. There was still time for another score; Vernon Brown certainly thought one had been achieved but after some deliberation, the umpires failed to agree with him and as a consequence of the ensuing repartee, Brown departed to the sin bin to see out the remainder of the match.

Afterwards, it was a pleased coach Albert Marcano who reflected that “the flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all. Having had a difficult autumn, this team have applied themselves well together and are now capable of turning in performances that mean they can compete with anyone in this league. One man’s goals may be the difference between victory and defeat - and it is great to see Palmer on song – but today was a team effort with some noticeable performances all around the pitch.” With six games remaining, Stortford move up the table and will now be targeting a top 5 finish when their league campaign resumes in a fortnight.

L2: BYE WEEK

Blueharts 3 v M2   SCORE: 1-2   GOALSCORERS:  Gregg Pettit, Jeff Dummett.

The Men's 2nd XI hopes of avoiding relegation were given a much needed boost this weekend, after picking up a vital win at fellow strugglers, Blueharts, which saw them leapfrog the opposition to a league place outside the dropzone.

Stortford dominated the game throughout, controlling possession in their own half for long periods, before switching quickly to attack. However, as has often been the case this season, the lack of clinical finishing meant that the game remained scoreless going into the interval.

Blueharts came out much more determined in the second half and it was they who broke the deadlock from a clever short corner routine.  Knowing what was at stake, Stortford picked up the pace again and within 5 minutes were back on level terms. Rick Oakley fired a long corner straight to David Wilde at the top of the Blueharts semi-circle, who needed just one touch to find Gregg Pettit inside the 'D'. Pettit stayed composed and lifted the ball over the keeper into the empty net.

Ten minutes later, the game had turned around as Stortford struck again. Another quick break down the right was initially cleared,  however Dan Hodder's determination won possession back for the visitors and found Jeff Dummett in space, who had time to take aim before smashing the ball past the keeper.

With only a third victory of the league campaign within their grasp, Stortford resorted to a defensive setup for the closing stages to protect the slender lead and when the final whistle was blown the relief was visible.

Next week, Stortford travel to Winchmore Hill & Enfield in search of more points to edge them closer to safety.

L3 v Rickmansworth 1   SCORE: 2-6   GOALSCORERS: Viv Ronco, Clemmie Carr

M3 v Bedford 4    SCORE:  13-0  GOALSCORERS:  Mike Landolt (6), Nick Slowe (4), Dan Chapman, Mike Clark.

The 3's started as they went on against 10-man Bedford, with a short corner flicked into the roof of the net by Mike Landolt after just 3 minutes. Goals came easily in the first half, leading to a touch of complacency setting in for the last 15 minutes.

However, it was a magnificent team effort with everyone focused on the result and some great interchanges moving the ball the length of the pitch, culminating in some clinical finishing. The defence stood strong with Simon Parker sweeping and a couple of great reaction saves from Josh Ramsey kept the clean-sheet.

M4 v Winchmore Hill & Enfield 3   SCORE: 1-1   GOALSCORER: ROB CLIFT

A close fought game with very few chances reflected by the fact the that the first short corner wasn’t awarded until mid-way through the second half. The fourths this week adopted a slightly more attacking formation of 4-3-3 feeling that we could pressurise the opposition and score some goals. In the first half we had more of the possession but scoring opportunities for both sides were limited with Simon Martyn in goal only touching the ball once. In the second half a well struck penalty corner from Shep was saved by the Winchmore goalie but he could only deflect the ball upwards and onto the head of a defender on the line. A lengthy delay then followed whilst the defender was assessed and a paramedic called. After the restart up stepped Rob Clift to put the resulting flick into the net. With only 15 minutes left on the clock Winchmore Hill kept pushing forward and putting more pressure on the Stortford defence but this left gaps for us to exploit and try and kill the game. With six minutes remaining Winchmore Hill were awarded a short corner and a low strike into corner of the goal meant the game finished 1-1. Overall a good game but one in which Stortford will be disappointed not to come away with all of the points and to close the gap on the teams above them.

Broxbourne 4 v L4   SCORE: 4-0

 

Stevenage 4 v M5   SCORE:  1-3   GOALSCORERS:  Saket Trivedi (2)

 

Sunday 15 February 2015

P2 W2 D0 L0 F6 A3

U14 GIRLS WON 2-1 VS BROXBOURNE

MIXED WON 4-2 VS SAFFRON WALDEN