Stafford Hockey Club 1st team started their ENER-G sponsored West Midlands Division 1 account with a disappointing 3-2 loss last weekend against Kingswinford Hockey Club. Despite a good performance by the Riverway team, the game turned on a couple of bizarre incidents.
Stafford started brightly enough, moving the ball quickly at pace around the back, leaving Kingswinford chasing shadows. Unfortunately Stafford could not force any real goal scoring opportunities despite good work from Andy Peatfield and Dan Howe. It took a piece of individual skill for Kingswinford to take the lead, the player concerned neatly beating two players before lifting the ball past the advancing Jay Mullor in goal. Kingswinford soon doubled their lead, the experienced Billy Jawanda finding a Stafford foot in the circle, and the resultant drag flick being dispatched into the roof of the net.
At the break, a positive team talk by coach Dave Evans, saw Stafford come out fighting, Richard Bendall won a penalty corner after some tough tackling by the Kingswinford defenders and Steve Marsh blasting his shot past the goal keeper. Stafford soon equalised when a clever flick on from Dan Howe, found Andy Peatfield at the far post who dabbed the ball home. Stafford were definitely on top at this point and it was an unfortunate injury to Simon Parnell that saw the momentum lost. The umpire missed an initial back stick and Kingswinford attacked the circle and their forwards shot was lifted towards the goal and into the face of Parnell, thankfully after checks at the hospital later he was given the all clear. It was obvious that the incident affected all players and both umpires and after consultation the free hit was given to Stafford.
Unfortunately Stafford were obviously upset by the injury and seemed to lose their composure, the winning goal was terribly unlucky as a shot going well wide, hit Giles Rowden’s foot and went into the goal. Stafford though kept fighting to the end, Andy Keen came agonisingly close with a penalty corner deflection but the points went to the away team.
Stafford were very unlucky not to get at least a draw, but will take some consolation in the way they played. Next week they are away at Droitwich.