Stafford Hockey Club first eleven travelled to West Bromwich on Saturday for their third league game of the season. Buoyed by a decent draw on opening day against Streetly and an encouraging performance against Wednesbury that unfortunately ended in a 3-0 defeat, a Stafford team with an average age of 23 were in good spirits and high in confidence.
The game started well for Stafford and a new short-corner routine courtesy of coach Ed Wills confused the West Brom defence and Colin Bishop was able to slot the ball home from the top of the circle for his first league goal for the first team. West Brom came out fighting and managed to equalise from their own well-worked short corner but Stafford were soon in front again with a captain’s goal from the industrious Ben Hollands.
Again, Stafford couldn’t hang on to the lead as West Brom again equalised with another short corner taking the teams into the break at all square. A calm and collected team talk spurred the team on and Stafford were able to string some passes together with man of the match Andy Peatfield bossing the midfield. Stafford’s patience allowed them to take the lead 20 minutes from the end as Charlie Trotter picked up a rebound off the goalkeeper to flick the ball into the top corner of the goal. Some good saves from goalkeeper Gareth Minton kept Stafford ahead and a late penalty flick converted by the ever reliable Dave Anderson calmed last minute nerves and sealed the win.
This Saturday, Stafford will try to build on their good start to the season as they host Market Drayton in a 1pm start at Beaconside.