1st Team Match Report v West Bromwich

Stafford HC retook top spot of the West Midlands Div 1 with a 3-1 win against previous leaders West Bromwich HC.

West Brom were the in form team going into the fixture, Stafford on the other hand were still reeling from their draw against Yardley. As a result West Brom dominated the early stages, moving the ball nicely and with a game plan of trying to rob the ball off the Stafford defence.

The away team created a number of early chances but could not seem to put the finishing touches to their play. Dan Howe in goals smothered anything that came his way. Stafford did win a couple of early penalty corners but could not get a shot away themselves.

West Brom then deservedly took the lead, Dave Anderson was dispossessed in midfield, the ball slipped out wide for league top goal scorer Paul Compton to slap home. After that the midfield took over and pretty much cancelled each other out.

Stafford then grabbed their equaliser when they won the ball high up the pitch, Dan Rennie passed to Giles Rowden who in turn moved it on to Andy Peatfield, he flicked the ball high into the net.

A great moral boost and Stafford were much better in the second half, they looked much better going forwards and took the lead through Charlie Trotter who knocked the ball home at the far post after an Andy Barnett cross.

Dan Howe still had plenty to do, West Brom were guilty of missing some good chances and things started to open up. Rowden missed an excellent chance before the result was put beyond doubt when Peatfield grabbed his second with a narrow far post finish.

A big result for Stafford who now only need three points from one of their remaining three games. Next weekend they travel down to Pershore hoping to wrap the league up.

1st Team Match Report v Yardley

Stafford HC 1st suffered a slip up last weekend in aim to win West Midlands Div 1 of the Midlands Regional Hockey Association by drawing 2-2 against Yardley HC.

Due to the league withdrawal of Oswestry HC and a blank week, Stafford had not played in three weeks and looked rusty from the start. What they were not expecting however was the tenacity and work rate from a young team, obviously fired up about facing the league leaders.

So despite early pressure, Stafford could not really make any chances count and Yardley were intent on breaking down play and then trying the quick counter attack. It paid dividends for them when they won their only penalty corner. It was dispatched with aplomb, the ball deflecting over a diving Dan Howe who just got his stick to it.

Stafford were stunned but then took control, they were able to win numerous penalty corners but their usual slick routines were not firing, and the Yardley goal keeper had a great afternoon. Eventually Stafford grabbed the equaliser when James Wilde burst through and his shot was deflected in by Charlie Trotter.

The barrage continued but the game was tied at half time. In the second half it was more of the same, penalty corners won and missed and it seemed time was running out for Stafford. Trotter then popped up at the far post and guided the ball into the goal for Stafford to take the lead. Unfortunately they could not keep hold of it as a couple of missed tackles in midfield saw Yardley advance into the circle, their forward turned and slotted the ball under the advancing keeper to have the home team in raptures.

No doubt a huge confidence boost for the young Yardley side, who have gone through some tough times over the last few years, congratulations to them on their performance.

Stafford still remain unbeaten this season after the result against Oswestry was voided. Next week they play new league leaders West Bromwich HC 1.00pm at Beaconside, a win will see Stafford go ahead of them with two games in hand.