Stafford Hockey Club 1st team put in a much better performance last weekend without getting any reward, going down 2-1 to 2nd placed Wednesbury HC.
A changed formation saw Stafford set up more defensively, Guy Malpass given the job of marking ex-national league player Jimmy Singh. Stafford were planning to play counter attacking hockey, and it seemed to work well in the early stages as Malpass was nullifying Singh’s skills. Stafford should have scored early on, Ben Hollands shot to the far post saw Chris Sunderland kick the ball when it seemed easier to score. Andy Peatfield was giving his marker a torrid time and he made the goal keeper pull off some sharp saves to deny Stafford.
Stafford did eventually take the lead when Peatfield crossed from the left and found Dan Howe covering the ground like a hovercraft, gracefully making it to the far post for a simple tap in. Stafford should have extended their league but Hollands was denied and Giles Rowden saw his shot parried at a penalty corner. At the other end Brad Evans in goal, seemed inspired and made some excellent saves from a number of penalty corners.
Stafford led at half time but knew they would be up against it in the 2nd half, 15 year old Evans kept them wanting with a deserved man of the match performance. However the inevitable equaliser came after Stafford’s nerves began to show, a penalty corner was won and Singh played a neat one two before he played the ball to the far post for a touch in. Things then got a bit tense when Steve Marsh was shown a yellow card, Wednesbury pushed forward and a shot was going wide before a smart deflection saw Evans beaten. Despite pushing forward, Stafford could not get another goal and saw another good performance unrewarded.
Next week Stafford face struggling Whitchurch HC away, they will be buoyed by last weekends effort and will be hoping to bounce back.