Saturday 01 November
P10 W5 D2 L3 F32 A32
Ladies 1s vs St Albans 2s. Won 3-2 GOALSCORERS: Ana Costamanga, Pippa Bull, Suman Bala Garg
Stortford Ladies 1s went head to head with top of the league this week when they travelled away to St Albans Ladies 2s.
The girls knew they had to put in a top performance if they were going to get a win against the unbeaten side and a determined start from Stortford helped to build their confidence that this would be possible.
A strong press, disciplined defending and creative attacking moves led to a sustained period of pressure for Stortford and a series of short corners. Unfortunately the well drilled routines did not yield a goal but undeterred by this the girls kept working hard and moments later after battling to win back the ball Fran Pettengell played it through to Ana Costamagna. Ana shot from such a tight angle no-one thought it would be possible to score but never say never where Ana is concerned - 1-0 to Bishop's Stortford.
The St Albans team unhappy with the scoreline stepped up their game and worked hard to try and penetrate the Stortford defence. They were denied a number of times by the back four giving Stortford further opportunities to go forward and attack but no goals could be found and eventually a St Albans attack led to a short corner. Caitlin Brown made a fantastic effort to try and save the ball on the line but unfortunately it just made it through leaving behind a cracking great bruise on her right thigh!
1-1 at half time with everything still to play for.
In the second half the Stortford team once again came out meaning business and clearly dominated the first ten minutes but once again were unable to find all attempts on goal were denied by a strong St Alban's keeper. Somewhat against the run of play St Albans had an attacking break and their skillful work was rewarded by a short-corner which they converted to a goal to make it 2-1 to St Albans.
Moments later Stortford were once again defending another St Albans attack but this time the defence stood firm and denied their efforts. A quick 16 yard hit was blasted up the pitch from Suman Bala Garg all the way through to Sally Powell on the forward line. Sal turned and took a short run before slipping the ball through to Pippa Bull in the D. A strong shot from Pippa deflected up off the keeper, went over her head and dropped into the far corner of the goal. Once again the teams were drawing level 2-2 with fifteen minutes to go.
At this point both teams stepped up the fight and had periods of attacking pressure but neither seemed able to convert their short corners. A sending off and the awarding of a short corner against the St Albans team created an opportunity for the Stortford girls. The strike found a defender's foot so another short corner was awarded and this time Suman Bala Garg stepped up to take the straight strike. A powerful hit found the right hard corner of the goal to make it 3-2 to Bishop's Stortford with less than ten minutes remaining. The team kept their heads and played some calm, decisive hockey which was enough to keep the St Albans players out.
The match ended 3-2 to Bishop's Stortford. A fitting reward for the team's best performance to date. Man of the match Suman Bala Garg
M1 v Brentwood 1st XI Won 4-2. GOALSCORERS: Alex Palmer x2 Cawthray-Stern x2.
Stortford blew away the cobwebs of recent weeks to earn themselves a win, if not yet a perfect performance. The adoption of a new system saw some changes in the way that Stortford lined up, and it brought a fluency to the home side’s movement going forward that had been absent in recent weeks. As Stortford developed attack after attack, it was only a combination of profligacy with the final ball and the lack of a decisive short corner move that prevented Stortford from translating their dominance into a lead. Brentwood were penalised for a foot near the goal line but the umpire was satisfied it warranted a penalty corner rather than a stroke. Jon Taylor also saw an effort he thought had added to his season’s tally be disallowed for an infringement in the build-up.
Eventually, though the deadlock was broken after 25 minutes as Adam Cawthray-Stern scored his debut 1st Xi goal with a well taken strike from the left shoulder of the circle. The intensity and fluency of the Stortford pressure moving forward was such that they should have added to the tally in the remaining minutes of the half, but as it was, a defensive scare saw a 3 vs 2 attack develop down the left hand side which was able thwarted by captain Phil Mathison, before Butcher made a close range save from a reverse strike and shortly afterwards a good save from a drag flicked penalty corner move. At half time, Coach Marcano emphasised the importance of taking chances to cement the home side’s position.
Early in the second half, Alex Palmer took on board his advice with a hard and low penalty corner that dissected keeper and post man. At 2-0, the platform for a victory was established, but Stortford managed to give themselves some post-halloween scares as they conceded a goal to a well-executed flick which Palmer could only parry into the goal. Fortunately, Palmer made amends at the other end firing his second of the game. At this point, both sides began to tire and the game stretched as Brentwood desperately sought to claw their way back into the match. A well-worked interchange between the Brentwood midfield and winger saw a cross played into the circle and although Butcher was able to get a hand to the deflected shot, he was unable to clear it to safety and Brentwood gratefully accepted an unforeseen second goal.
Given Stortford’s appetite for a win, the last 10 minutes of the match were shaping up to be an edgy affair, before a seemingly goal-bound shot for Palmer’s hattrick was given the certainty of a final touch by Cawthray-Stern to restore the margin for a 4-2 victory. Afterwards Marcano reflected “today’s performance may not have shown us playing our best hockey but a valuable three points gets us back on track after some difficult weeks. If we take our chances more clinically, we will put ourselves on a footing to challenge the best in this league.” Next week, Stortford travel to King’s Lynn to take on a Pelicans’ side who sit one point ahead of them in the league.
L2 v St Albans 4. Won 3-1. Scorers: Elizabeth Reay, Charlotte Teall, Claire Shillito
Bishops Stortford ladies started strong doing what they do best with some excellent passing around the back to release the forwards- after some very close misses Stortford got there first goal with lots of hard work. In the middle Elizabeth Reay, Vicky Farrant and Charlotte Teall maintained an outstanding level of work rate- shortly to be rewarded both Charlotte and Buff scored some outstanding goals putting Stortford 2-0 up- after which Claire Shillito made it 3. The second half became more of a challenge for the girls as St Albans were pressing to try and recover- some excellent defensive work from Beth Farrant, Paula Frenzel, and Becky Witherden meant
that St Albans were unable to catch the Bishop’s Stortford ladies’. Unfortunately the St. Alban’s girls managed to pull one back towards the end but this didn't stop Stortford as they worked hard to maintain their lead right until the final whistle meaning they still hold their place at top of
the league table.
M2 v Blueharts 3. DREW 3-3. Goalscorers: Albert Marcano
Bishop's Stortford Men's 2nd XI picked up a vital point this weekend, after drawing 3-3 with Blueharts.
The home side got off to a great start and found themselves a goal up within 5 minutes. A quick break enabled Albert Marcano to slip in behind the Blueharts defence, before deftly flicking the ball over the goalkeeper.
The lead was short-lived though and Blueharts equalized five minutes later.
The game began to swing in favour of the visitor's and midway through the first half they took advantage of a moment of panic in the Stortford semi-circle, managing to force the ball over the line to take a 2-1 lead.
Worse was to come for Stortford when Blueharts added a third from a short-corner. However, with a couple of minutes left on the clock before the interval, the hosts reduced the deficit, as a powerful strike from the top of the Blueharts 'D', rocketed through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner of the net, before the goalkeeper could react.
This goal gave Stortford the momentum which they took into the second half, creating a number of chances and with ten minutes of the match to go, their efforts paid off. Rick Oakley intercepted a Blueharts clearance from inside their own 'D' and sent the ball past the keeper to the back post, where Marcano was on hand to push the ball into the empty net, for his second of the game.
The remaining minutes of the game was one-way traffic as Stortford pushed for a winner. But Blueharts were not planning on leaving empty handed and pulled everyone back to defend, clearing the ball to the far end of the pitch whenever possible, to run down the clock. The tactic worked and the match concluded to a 3-3 draw and a share of the points.
Bishop's Stortford have a much tougher challenge next week,as the travel to top-of-the-table, Shefford & Sandy.
L3s vs Hertford 2. LOST 3-5
M3s vs Bedford 4. WON 7-2. SCORERS: Ben Thompson x3, Dan Chapman x2, Martin Gay, Nick Prowse
Bishop's Stortford men's 3's continued their fine run of form comfortably beating bottom of the table Bedford 4's on Saturday.
Stortford started brightly and were soon 2-0 up through two well taken corner strikes from Thompson returning for his first game of the season. When Prowse added a 3rd after a quick taken hit by Temple it looked like Stortford would run away with the game. That wasn't the case though and Stortford became overconfident and lost their shape allowing Bedford to cause some problems of their own.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Stortford committing too many bodies forward and Bedford mounting counter attacks to take advantage of their numerical advantage. Thompson added his third and Chapman got two of his own, with Gay getting his first of the season. Bedford also got 2 goals of their own as Stortford lapsed in concentration.
All in all a good win, but not a great team performance and greater discipline and execution in attack will be required by all in the weeks ahead.
L4s vs Hertford 3. LOST 2-5 SCORER: JOSEPHINE THOMPSON x2
Stortford Ladies saw a great improvement compared to last week with the final score resulting in only a 5-2 loss. With a strong start from Bishop's Stortford some excellent runs were made between Clemmie Carr and Molly Trimble moving the ball into the D. However Hertford counteracted the attack and began to push hard into our defensive D. The defence was organised by Vicky Cox, and Mel Cassel Dummett, Amy McLaren and Milly Aylott made some great tackles. Some fantastic saves were made by goal keeper Charlie Simmonds, however Hertford managed to score 5 goals. Stortford did score 1 goal in the first half which was achieved by a flick from Clemmie Carr and then a powerful hit from Jo Thompson.
Stortford played much better in the second half with some quick passes made between Kate Bryers and Bex Maybury. They then managed to move the ball to Jo who was able to score her second goal. The defence stayed strong marking tightly with Lisa Suckling and Fiona Lemon dropping back to defend and then briskly turning around and pushing the ball back up to the forwards. Stortford were unfortunate to have a close range goal by Kate Byers disallowed, late on in the second half.
Player of the match went to Clemmie Carr for her consistent efforts to push forward during the game and for making some excellent passes into the D. Vicky Cox also received nominations for some great defending and a couple of goal line saves.
M4s vs Winchmore Hill 3s. DREW 1-1. Scorer: Craig Bassingthwaite
A game Stortford should have won, though Winchmore Hill will no doubt feel the same. Winchmore played an unusual system with about four high forwards, two of which were left sided. This enabled Stortford to work some opportunities when they played good hockey (which was not always the case) but also meant that WH could break with numbers (and pace). So it proved, Craig Bass sweeping in a cross from the right before WH quickly equalised through a break down the inside left channel.
The second half was similar with the balance slightly more in favour of Stortford. Joe Symonds and Tom Shepherd gripped the midfield and the forwards caused difficulties with numerous short corners and other shots. The WH keeper made several good saves. WH were still dangerous on the break though Caleb Williams was much the quieter of the two keepers. Jonathan Moon made a couple of vital last ditch tackles and interceptions. Stortford’s best opportunity came from Matt Brown connecting well with a cross only for the ball to be saved on the line by the head of a Winchmore defender. Bruce Rodda continued the 4th team’s lack of success with penalties lofting wide of the left post much as Krishman had done the previous week. Stortford had the better of the later exchanges but could not force the ball, and the match, over the line.The second half was similar with the balance slightly more in favour of Stortford. Joe Symonds and Tom Shepherd gripped the midfield and the forwards caused difficulties with numerous short corners and other shots. The WH keeper made several good saves. WH were still dangerous on the break though Caleb Williams was much the quieter of the two keepers. Jonathan Moon made a couple of vital last ditch tackles and interceptions. Stortford’s best opportunity came from Matt Brown connecting well with a cross only for the ball to be saved on the line by the head of a Winchmore defender. Bruce Rodda continued the 4th team’s lack of success with penalties lofting wide of the left post much as Krishman had done the previous week. Stortford had the better of the later exchanges but could not force the ball, and the match, over the line.
M5s vs Stevenage 4s. WON 4-0. SCORERS: SLOWE and SLACK x3
Another fine performance from the 5ths helped the win in style and keep that elusive clean sheet that all the fantasy league punters happy.
Stevenage were strong in the mid-field and up front, breaking quickly to create early chances. Bishops Stortford trying out a new formation struggled to gain composure for the first 20 minutes and the game appeared to be a struggle. However slowly we gained the upper hand and Chris Slack scored the opener to leave it 1-0 at half time.
In the second half the game opened up and the 5ths gained more control. In attack we found our way past the Stevenage defence on a number of occassions which led to 3 goals in the second half. Chris Slack scored another, before Ollie Newman made a great through pass to Badger who made a simple slip pass to Nick Slowe for what should have been goal of the game. Chris Slack again took the honours there for the fourth goal of the day, his hat-trick, and another clean shot into the top of the net, champagne hockey!
M6s vs Welwyn Garden City 4s. LOST 2-6. Scorer: Sam Taylor
Although it was the day after Halloween, sadly the nightmare was still to come for the Mighty 6’s. On an uncommonly warm November day, the team met their match against the old hands at Welwyn, with the opposition regularly unpicking Stortford’s defence.
Welwyn opened the gates early, and despite an answer coming quickly from Stortford’s centre forward Sam Taylor, the opposition pulled back another before half time leaving the score at 1-3.
A defensive/midfield rejig for the second half did little to stop the losses, with Welwyn picking up their fourth soon after play restarted. While Sam Taylor still managed to pull one back for a brace (and force the opposition keeper to check that all of his anatomy was still in one piece), a fifth and sixth followed before we could finally put the game to bed.
In terms of play it wasn’t all bad news. The youth contingent held their own as, alongside the aforementioned Taylor, Jonathan Barber made himself a strong presence in both left back and centre mid, Euan Thomas added some pace in Left Midfield and Nick Dale made a much belated debut for the 6’s.
For the rest of the side it was more of a mixed-bag. The unbridled ferocity of Phil Rowley and Tony Penman worked both for and against them. While defensively Ross Howarth and Keeper Jon Jackson displayed both moments of brilliance and insanity.
At the end of the day, much of the fault came down to individual errors, namely that individually we all made too many errors. There is still light at the end of the tunnel, but still much work to be done.
Man of the match was close run, with Jonathan Barber just pipping Sam Taylor this week.
Previous weeks' match reports are available using the submenu under match reports on the right hand side menu.