Stafford Hockey Club 1st team continued their encouraging pre-season, with a well deserved 4-3 win against Wednesbury HC on Saturday and a narrow 4-2 loss in the Hockey Association Vase on Sunday.
On Saturday Stafford started slowly, going 2-0 behind within 15 minutes, ex-national league player Jimmy Singh was pulling all of the Wednesbury strings and was able to create an early penalty corner. The shot was saved illegally on the line by Andy Keen and a penalty stroke was awarded, Brad Evans in goal however was able to put Singh off enough to see him shoot wide. Unfortunately Stafford continued to struggle and Wednesbury scored twice shortly afterwards after two defensive lapses.
This however just seemed to wake Stafford up, and they took the game to Wenesbury and scored 4 goals in a blistering 10 mimute spell. Andy Peatfield got his first when a good cross from James Gillingham fell into Peatfield’s path, it took him three attemps but eventually it went in. Next up was Dan Howe who slipped a ball sneakily past the keeper at the near post. Thirdly, a good ball in from Ben Hollands found Mike Wymer steaming into the circle to knock the cross in. The final goal was the best of the bunch, Peatfield picked the ball up unmarked in the Wednesbury half and took it into the circle, his calm lift over the keeper stunned the opposition.
In the second half, Stafford could have added to their total but the only goal was scored by Wednesbury, after another penalty was awarded. Stafford though held on for a deserved win.
Stafford faced Market Harborough on Sunday, with a changed side, however they were never outclassed by a young and skillful team. Market Harborough took the lead after a defensive lapse, but soon afterwards Giles Rowden equalised after good work by Mike Wymer, Rowden slotted a reverse stick shot into the corner. It remained 1-1 at half time but after the break Market Harborough upped the pace and scored three smart goals, Stafford scored another with a diving Dan Howe shot but could not force any further goals. Man of the match was Rob Hodson, who has only been playing hockey for two seasons and worked tirelessly.
Next week sees Stafford face Kingswinford HC at home, in a league reshuffle, 1.00pm push back at Beaconside.