BSHC MATCH REPORTS – SATURDAY 14th MARCH 2015
P11 W4 D1 L6 F22 A22
M1 v Bourne Deeping 1 SCORE: 1-2 GOALSCORER: Albert Marcano
After the recent good performances against league high flyers, Stortford were keen to finish their final home game of the season with a win. With the visitors arriving with a bare 11, there was more than a little of an end of term feeling in the air. Hampered by the late withdrawal of Phil Mathison with a broken wrist, Paul Round made his debut as captain.
The game opened with chances at both ends; an away goal was awarded and then rightly reversed following a conference between the umpires. Alex Palmer drew two good saves from flicks at penalty corners before an Alex James strike was illegally blocked on the line. Palmer's penalty stroke may have momentarily troubled the air traffic controllers at Stansted as he blasted his shot widely high over the goal.
Half time came and went and after numerous chances to score, the Stortford front line were taught a lesson as coach Albert Marcano arrived from the defence to propel a short corner into the roof of the net. Injuries meant Bourne Deeping were playing with a high forward effectively acting as a goal hanger. Sadly this proved to be an effective tactic as Stortford were unable to deal with a chaotic penalty corner variation which led to a penalty stroke and then with just seconds remaining, the Bourne Deeping poacher did enough to earn his side an unlikely three points. Afterwards, Albert Marcano was unhappy: 'today's performance was not about good or bad, disappointment or upset. Today was about shame and embarrassment and the players need to reflect on this and do something significant in the final weeks of the season to show to each other and the rest of the club that they deserve to play at first team level.' Next week, Stortford travel to Ford.
M2 v West Herts 3 SCORE: 1-2 GOALSCORER: Rick Oakley
The Men's 2nd XI came close to causing an upset against promotion chasing West Herts on Saturday, in a game that could have gone either way.
The first half saw both sides create chances, however, some determined defending and courageous goalkeeping ensured that the match remained level going into the break.
The deadlock was broken early in the second half though, as West Herts finally found a way through to take a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later Stortford had an opportunity to get the game back on level terms when a straight strike from a short corner took a deflection off a defenders stick and looped over the West Herts keeper's head. However, a West Herts player had remained on the goal-line and was able to bat it away, before it crossed the line.
With about a quarter of an hour left on the clock, West Herts doubled their lead against the run of play, when a shot from the top of the 'D' somehow found a way through a crowd of players, through legs and under sticks to creep over the line at the back post.
The home side continued to press forward and five minutes from the end managed to pull a goal back, when Rick Oakley was able to deflect the ball into the net from a short corner. Unfortunately, time was against Stortford and they were unable to add to their tally and the game finished 2-1 in favour of West Herts.
Next week Stortford travel to top of the table, Berkhamsted, for their penultimate game of the season.
Berkhamsted 2 v M3 SCORE: 5-0
A very different looking 3rd team emerged into the cold wind at Tring to face a Berkhamsted side playing to confirm their promotion into Divisons 3 SW. Suffice it to say that the eleven Stortford players were unfamiliar with each other’s style and that showed in the first 15 minutes as Berkhamsted ran up a healthy lead, following a few wild tackles from the home side which went unpunished. Just before half-time a third overly strong challenge riled Paul Tomlin into collecting a green card, but strangely not even a word of caution for the home player winding it all up.
Bishops Stortford were 4-0 down at the break and so pushed back harder in the second half, letting in just one more goal and threatening themselves a few times.
Man of the match was a difficult choice between Caleb Williams in goal and Sam Cunningham, who just shaded it, particularly for his attacking role in the second half.
M4 v Welwyn Garden City 4 SCORE: 5-0 GOALSCORERS: James Smith (3), Ross Butler, Tom Nash
A very good performance from the 4s yielded a first win of 2015! Stortford had a number of juniors on duty with Ed Patton and Ross Butler from the U14s and Gus Purvis, also an U14, making his debut. The team also featured relative veterans Tom Nash and Adam Bassingthwaighte along with a number of real-life veterans. Stortford started playing good hockey with Patton and Bassingthwaighte combining particularly well and, working with Purvis, Stortford created some promising situations on the right. Meanwhile the striker in the early stages was Butler who showed his left side bias by making his lead runs on that side but combining excellently with the oncoming Stortford midfield. After several good chances had come and gone (with some excellent saves from the young Welwyn keeper), Butler put Stortford ahead sliding in from his favoured Thierry Henry angle. A second followed as James Smith came on to a Butler pass and pushed calmly past the keeper - and a third as Smith stopped the ball in the D and a sweeping tackle from the defender put the ball past his own keeper! The score was 3-0 at half time, despite some skilful Welwyn forwards being dangerous on the break.
Stortford played some very good hockey in the second half, scoring two more goals and repelling some spirited attacking from Welwyn on the break. One goal was the 4s goal of the season without a doubt as the ball made its way from Barber via Moon from left to right across the back from a 16. Shillito at left back passed to Bassingthwaighte on half way who played it to Tom Nash high left. It was then transferred back to the right on the 25 before a pass was struck to James Smith on the left post to take and walk into the net. No Welwyn touches from the 16. Another good move resulted in a well-deserved goal for Tom Nash. Great to win and especially with a makeshift team - and so many youngsters - playing such good hockey.
Broxbourne 4 v M5 SCORE: 3-1 GOALSCORER: Sean Trimble
In a reversal of the fixture at home which Stortford won 6-0 the 5's came up against stronger resistance from Broxbourne at home and found themselves on the end of a 3-1 loss. The home team had the majority of the pressure and deserved to take the spoils, even if there were question marks over one of the goals.
The first half resulted in 2 goals for Broxbourne, some strong play across the park from the mid-field accompanied by strong finishing, albeit the first crept through the keepers pads. Stortford were making it difficult for themselves.
The second half was level in terms of scoring. Badger had a great shot on goal saved from the one Short corner that we had in the game. Sean Trimble got Stortford off their duck, however another goal from Broxburne left the score 3-1.
West Herts 7 v M6 SCORE: 1-4 GOALSCORERS: Sam Taylor (2), John Collins, Rick Carr
As the end of the season draws nigh, it was up to the penultimate match to determine whether the Mighty 6’s would see it ending in victory or tragedy (or a 4th place finish, at least). Despite a bracing wind and the threat of rain, the 6th Team arrived at West Herts with enough confidence (and time) to complete a pre-emptive pre-match victory circuit of the car park. It was clear they meant business.
As claims that “4 teams are going to get promotion this year” rung in the air, it was unclear if this was some early brinksmanship from a West Herts side that had held the 6’s at a draw earlier in the season. However, there was no time for such conjecture as the first half started in earnest.
From the off it didn’t take an expert to assay the opposition’s danger men and after a few initial tussles, the defence picked up their men admirably for the majority of the game. Perhaps thrown by last week’s match, it took a while for the rest of the side to find their structure, but after a few minutes the game was finally afoot.
Despite a few incidents, including a Phil Rowley aerial unfortunately finding an opponent’s shoulder, Stortford were in command. Their short passing game kept up the pressure until a Sam Taylor shot crept past the keeper to take the visitors ahead. The 6’s continued to keep their heads, and the possession, allowing the club’s eldest statesman, John Collins, to pick up a fine poachers goal at the back post.
Obviously shaken by the turn of events, West Herts came back in full force. An oblique shot at goal was unfortunate to find the chest of Ross Haworth, rather than the net, resulting in a penalty stroke for the home side. However, despite the tension being palpable, a calm and collected Jon Jackson saw through the cocky “just hit it straight at the keeper” tactics employed, deftly clearing the ball and further frustrating the opposition. With the score remaining 2-0 at half time it was a promising first 35 minutes, but it could still all change.
With the second half underway, the 6th team decided to introduce some new elements to the game, which perhaps won’t find themselves as experimental rule changes in future seasons. An unexpected bid for being a kicking back from Andy Cox and an attempt at playing “en repose” from Phil Rowley, were amongst the opportunities Stortford gave for West Herts to practice their short corner routines. A strong defence successfully repelled their set piece endeavours, however with a rare burst of pressure, the home team managed to pull one back from rear post deflection.
Another Sam Taylor goal, drew Stortford further ahead again, however with the second half drawing on, fatigue and a slip in structure made for some nail-biting viewing on the side-lines. With the visitors struggling to pull their heads together it could all have ended messily. But, in the dying minutes, a through-ball from Captain Duncan Laws was niftily deflected past the keeper by Rick Carr to close the game out at a victorious 4-1 to Stortford.
Overall, a good return to form from the 6’s in a game that felt much more like a typical Division 9 skirmish than the week before. Upfront it was another good week for Sam Taylor and Rick Carr, a great one for John Collins and an unlucky one for Graham Perry and James Nash who were unfortunate in not getting on the end of something.
In midfield, a better week was had for John Gould and Phil Rowley, with Nigel Taylor and Andy Cox continuing their good form. However it was the defence that excelled this week, with Ross Haworth again making some crucial saves, Dan Cohen-Rumbold making a strong impact at right back, and Rob Gill having a scenic tour of the pitch while he marked a behatted (and then un-behatted) forward.
Man of the match though, with another stunning turn in goal, was keeper Jon Jackson. With some lightning-fast reflexes and a cool head, he was again unlucky not to keep a clean sheet.
And so sights turn to next week’s finale against a top of the league Winchmore Hill. While a victory may not be guaranteed, it’s certainly looking like there is an interesting 70 minutes lined up ahead.
Chelmsford 2 v L1 SCORE: 1-1 GOALSCORER: Suzy Fletcher
Stortford L1s travelled away to Chelmsford this week – hoping for another win to put them in a strong position in the fight for promotion.
Stortford started the match strongly and spent a lot of time attacking the Chelmsford goal but were unable to convert their chances. As the first half continued Chelmsford pushed back and in an attempt to stop their attacking play a few loose tackles were made. Stortford were issued with a green card and a warning for the team about the stick tackles. Determined to get something before half-time Stortford were awarded a short-corner as the end of the half was signalled. The keeper lifted the clearance into the knee of Lou Rhodes hovering on the right hand post but a controversial umpiring decision signalled the end of the half and no further short-corner was issued. 0-0 at half time.
In the second half both teams were determined to get a win and not concede any goals. Unfortunately the passion and determination may have been too much at times and a strong tackle from Suman Bala Garg on the edge of the D earned her a yellow card. Stortford held strong while down to ten men and once back at full strength continued to fight for chances to score.
Unfortunately though it was Chelmsford who scored first after being awarded a flick for a well executed short corner which found a foot on the line. At this point Stortford stepped up their determination and some quality attacking play from the whole team led to Fran Pettengell crossing the ball in front of goal for Lou Rhodes to touch into the back of the net.
A tense moment towards the end of the second half saw Chelmsford beat the Stortford keeper and put a shot on goal but Caitlin Brown stepped into the breach and used her cricketing skills to make a phenomenal goal-line save (earning her joint Man of the Match).
Stortford aware they were running short of time made a further attacking push. Jemma Smith and Anna Swan (joint Man of the Match) continued to build play down the right hand side and helped Stortford to create further short-corner opportunities which they were unfortunate not to convert.
A final short-corner was awarded as the whistle went for the end of the match. The decision was taken to play the ball out to Ana Costamagna on the left hand side to create more time for the shot. A brilliant strike by Costamanga found the back of the net and the Stortford girls celebrated a 2:1 win…. Until another controversial umpiring decision saw the second umpire disallow the goal because he felt that Costamanga had not stopped the ball outside the D. The umpire that awarded the goal did not know whether it had been stopped outside and so the game ended 1-1. The Stortford girls are putting this game behind them and focusing on the job in hand for their final game of the season.
Stortford take on Maidstone at home at 12pm with the winners of this game getting the promotion into East Prem for next season.
Stevenage 2 v L2 SCORE: 1-2 GOALSCORER: Becky Witherden (2).
A must win game for the promotion seekers saw Stortford ladies 2s make a determined start. Their efforts were rewarded with a converted penalty corner from Becky Witherden.
In the second half the lead slipped and as the away team did not convert a penalty flick, Stortford had to battle to the end. The lead was regained by Becky's second penalty corner.
L3 v Cheshunt 1 SCORE: 1-3 GOALSCORER: Bex Maybury
Chiltern 2 v L4 SCORE: 3-1 GOALSCORER: Katie Browne
Another tough away fixture for the ladies 4s, who travelled for the second successive week without a goalkeeper. The team started off really well and took the lead at around 20 minutes into the game with a magnificent strike by Katie Browne from a short corner. The game was pretty even apart from a 10 minute lull in the Stortford defence which saw Chiltern score three goals in quick succession. Although, Stortford battled hard to get something back, and had several chances with great attacking play from the midfield (Nadia El Zanfaly, Katie Browne and Lisa Suckling) and forwards (Katie Byers and Molly Trimble), they were denied by the Chiltern keeper and were unable to score again. The captain, Lisa Suckling, was awarded player of the match for her unrelenting efforts in midfield and willingness to fill the keepers place in defending short corners. Katie Browne also received some votes for player of the match for her cracking goal! Another great team effort went unrewarded.
SUNDAY 15th MARCH 2015
Stevenage 3 v M4 SCORE: 1-3 GOALSCORERS: Matt Brown, Adrian Krishman (2)
A very handy performance from the 4s for the second day in a row. The usual suspects returned from their trip to Berkhamsted and were joined by the Joneses, Gary and Ethan, 13 year old Joe Power, Jonathan Barber and College keeper Josh Ramsey. Stortford started well but Stevenage looked lively and good for the strong run of results they had achieved since Christmas with plenty of pace on the break. Josh Ramsey and John Shepherd had to deal with a number of situations while Power dealt calmly with their right sided attack and Gary Jones made a number of good tackles. Stortford though started to assert themselves with Richard Temple and Adrian Krishman dominating the middle of the pith and Sam Cunningham and Jonathan Barber combining well down the right. Stortford took the lead after J Barber had won a short corner, Matt Brown diving headlong to steer the ball over the line from the keeper's pads. A move down the right started by a great run from Cunningham led to Jonathan Barber putting Ethan Jones in on the bye line and his cross found its way in with a number of possible candidates for the goal. The main point was that it was a very good one.
After the break Stortford really took control and played some very nice hockey. Krishman added a third from a short corner won after further good play down the right and Stortford had other opportunities though no glaring misses. Stevenage had very few chances though they did threaten to come back into it after pulling one goal back with about 15 minutes to go. However, Stortford defended pretty well and also played some further good hockey to run out relatively comfortable winners.