1st Team Match Report v Redditch

Stafford HC 1st team pulled three points clear of West Midlands Division 1 with an impressive 5-1 win away at previous joint leaders Redditch HC. Andy Peatfield was the star of the show scoring a hat trick.

It soon became clear that Stafford were facing a strong opponent during a first ten minutes when they struggled to get the ball out of their half, Redditch kept the ball really well but just seemed to lack the finishing touch with a couple of early shots that went wide.

Goal keeper Dan Howe was also called into action early on, pulling off an excellent save at the far post. Gradually Stafford were able to exert some authority, breaking down the right!, Giles Rowden found himself in some space on the Redditch baseline, dribbled round a couple of players before passing to Ben Hollands. Hollands shot was saved illegally on the line and a penalty stroke was given before the ball actually dribbled over the line. Peatfield dispatched the penalty to give Stafford the lead.

Piers Wooller then created the second goal, passing the ball to Charlie Trotter who unselfishly passed to Peatfield on the far post to double his tally. Redditch then created their own chances, taking very quick free hits to leave the Stafford defence exposed, again a lack of composure let them down. Their pressure eventually told, winning a number of corners, Mike Wattley and Alex Peatfield cleared a number of chances before Redditch got their goal, a nice deflection at the near post.

2-1 at half time, Stafford were facing the best team they had played all season but we’re not daunted, coach Ed Wills urging the Riverway team forward. In fact it was Redditch who came out the stronger, pushing forward which allowed the Stafford defence to soak up the pressure before breaking quickly with numbers. This counter attacking style has seen Stafford score nearly 90 goals so far this season and Peatfield demonstrated that as he burnt passed his marker and finishing with aplomb into the far corner.

Redditch were forced to chase the game and gaps opened up helped by a couple of suspensions for the home team. Andy Barnett popped up at the far post to grab a goal and then Charlie Trotter’s mis-hit went in at the far post.

A stunned Redditch team had nothing left as Stafford took all three points, Stafford’s superior finishing power being the deciding factor.

Next week Stafford face Oswestry HC, 1.00pm at home, the Shropshire team being only team to beat Stafford in the league this season.

1st Team Match Reports v Droitwich and Barlaston

Stafford HC 1st team remain top of West Midlands Division 1 on goal difference after two impressive results last weekend.

On Saturday they entertained Droitwich HC, running out 5-0 winners before taking the honours in the local derby on Sunday 7-1 against Barlaston HC.

Against Droitwich, Stafford found a resilient opponent prepared to tackle hard to deny their opponents. Stafford took the lead early on, a run along the base line and pass from Andy Peatfield found Giles Rowden at the far post to tap the ball in.

Ben Hollands then doubled the lead, a great cross from Ed Handley allowed Hollands to get his stick on the ball and deflect the ball into the roof of the net. Droitwich then shut up shop, denying Stafford until after the break.

Stafford played better in the second half, but the man of the match honours actually went to Dan Howe for an amazing triple save to keep a clean sheet. Stafford grabbed three further goals, a trade mark drag flick from Dave Anderson, another for Hollands before Charlie Trotter scored late on to increase his seasons tally.

On Sunday, Stafford kept up the momentum with another clinical performance, Hollands scored early on before Trotter got in on the act, scoring three goals from penalty corners. Barlaston grabbed a nice goal themselves from a penalty corner before Stafford grabbed one themselves from Dave Anderson.

After the break Stafford piled the pressure on and forced the Barlaston keeper into making some great saves, eventually Stafford grabbed a couple of extra goals, Hollands with a close range finish and Rowden picking up the pieces after an Andy Peatfield shot.

Job done for the Riverway side, next week they face promotion rivals Redditch HC away, 1.30pm push back.

1st Team Match Report v Evesham

Stafford HC 1st continued their dominance of West Midlands Div 1 last weekend after they demolished Evesham HC 10-1.

The Riverway team showed no signs of rustiness, scoring an incredible seven goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. Evesham did well to reorganise themselves and make a contest of it after that.

Stafford started the game well, distributing the ball at pace and spreading the play to coach Ed Wills delight. Andy Peatfield grabbed the first after a trademark burst of pace saw him clear his marker, he was able to slot the ball in at the far post.

League top scorer Charlie Trotter got in on the act after Giles Rowden played him in, a nice close range finish. Andy Barnett scored after another surging run and Captain Ben Hollands finished past a stunned goal keeper.

Evesham were trying to play their own hockey but kept getting caught on the counter attack, Trotter grabbed probably the quickest hat-trick of the season and Dave Anderson scored from a powerful penalty corner flick.

After this, Evesham shut up shop and reorganised themselves, to the extent that Stafford went into the break feeling frustrated.

After the break the stalemate continued until Dave Anderson scored with another terrific corner. Then Evesham ruined keeper Dan Howe’s day with a great team goal to raise their moral.

Stafford were able to grab a couple of late goals through Barnett and Hollands to leave them top on goal difference. An interesting game played in good spirits by both teams and two umpires who officiated excellently.

Next week Stafford face neighbours Barlaston HC at Alleynes High School in Stone, 2.00pm push back.