1st Team Match Report v Redditch

Stafford HC retained top position in the West Midlands Div 1 last weekend with a 1-1 draw against second placed Redditch HC.

In a high quality game, both teams set out to play expansive hockey, Stafford probably dominated the possession but Redditch always looked dangerous on the counter attack.

Stafford raced out of the blocks stunning Redditch with their power play, early penalty corners were won, Dave Anderson and Giles Rowden forcing the opposition goal keeper to make some terrific saves.

As so often happens, Redditch scored with their first meaningful attack, the ball was fired into the circle from long range, Mike Wattley was forced into an awkward position and deflected the ball past a hapless Dan Howe in goals. Redditch were literally cheering a second goal but Howe pulled off an amazing far post save to keep Stafford in the game.

The second half was played out in competitive style, Stafford equalised after Charlie Trotter turned his marker and forced a two on one with the keeper, he unselfishly passed to Andy Peatfield to slot home.

Stafford kept up the pressure but despite a couple of late efforts, the points were shared.

Next week Stafford make the long trip to third placed Oswestry, hoping to take their good form with them.

1st Team Match Report v Droitwich

Stafford HC 1st team maintained top position in West Midlands 1 with a 3-1 victory away to Droitwich HC.

Droitwich started the brighter, more used to a bouncy pitch, and it was not long before they took the lead with the first goal Stafford have conceded this league season. It was a smart hit on the volley that gave Tom Dean-Nitschler no chance in goals.

That’s seemed to wake Stafford up and Charlie Trotter got his 4th goal of the campaign with a dribble into the circle and a smart reverse stick finish.

Stafford had the impetus and scored a second with a Piers Wooller shot from a penalty corner. Two became three after Andy Peatfield’s cross was unluckily deflected into the Droitwich goal by their own player.

Stafford would have liked to have scored more in the second half but seemed to lose their shape, in fact Droitwich were unlucky not to grab a second after the umpire saw an infringement just before they put the ball in the Stafford net.

There was still time for Ed Handley to deflect the ball just over the Droitwich goal and Andy Barnett to be denied by a good save at the end.

Next week Stafford face second place Redditch HC at home, 1.00pm push back at Beaconside.

1st Team Match Report v Barlaston

Stafford HC 1st team took the honours last weekend against local rivals Barlaston HC 4-0 in West Midlands Division 1.

Stafford have now scored ten goals in two games and have not conceded a single goal or even a penalty corner. Credit to Barlaston who kept the Riverway side at bay for long periods with a tenacious defensive effort.

Stafford started well, moving the ball around at pace, it took a while for Stafford to get a chance, Dan Rennie making his way along the base line before pulling it back to Giles Rowden to score through the goal keepers legs.

Soon afterwards Charlie Trotter grabbed his third of the season with a lovely goal, taking it past a stranded keeper before playing it into the corner.

There was still time in the first half for Trotter to miss a penalty stroke before Ben Hollands was played in by an excellent James Wild pass to finish well with a reverse stick shot.

Stafford were cruising at half time, but Barlaston stepped up the effort in the second half, frustrating Stafford and even creating some good chances, their best effort looking goal bound before the Barlaston player got in the way and deflected it past the post.

Stafford won a number of penalty corners but were denied by some good goal line saves. Eventually Stafford grabbed a 4th, Andy Barnett playing the ball to Rowden who squared it to Andy Peatfield to slot it into an empty net.

A good result against a determined opposition, played in good spirit and with two umpires prepared to let the game flow. Next week Stafford are away at Droitwich who have lost both their previous games, failing to score a goal so far.

1st Team Match Report v Evesham

Stafford HC 1st team got their season off to the perfect start with an emphatic 6-0 victory away at Evesham HC.

The Riverway team have re-structured this season with newcomers Alex Peatfield and goalkeeper Tom Dean-Netscher in a strong defence. Stafford looked dominant from the start and it seemed just a matter of time before they took the lead. However it took nearly to half time for Stafford to break down a stubborn defence, a penalty corner was switched neatly between Piers Wooller and Dan Rennie, for the latter to deflect the ball into the roof of the net.

After half time, Stafford settled and their superior fitness told on a beleaguered Evesham side. Giles Rowden grabbed the second with a straight penalty corner strike. After that Stafford started to stretch the game, Charlie Trotter popped up with a nice reverse stick finish, Rennie got a hat-trick with two close range finishes. Trotter then got his second with a fine drag flick.

A great result for Stafford with what could have been a tricky away fixture, next week they entertain local rivals Barlaston HC at Beaconside, 1.00pm start.