SATURDAY 14th FEBRUARY 2015
P9 W5 D1 L3 F32 A16 Pts 16
L1 v St Albans 2 SCORE: 1-2 GOALSCORER: Suman Bala Garg
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
M4 v Winchmore Hill & Enfield 3 SCORE: 1-1 GOALSCORER: ROB CLIFT
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
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