1st Team Match Report v Leamington

1st Team Match Report v Leamington

Stafford HC 1st team wrapped up the 2015 – 2016 season in slightly disappointing fashion losing their first game 2-1 against runners-up Leamington HC.

Stafford had already secured the league title two weeks previously and made the trip to Warwickshire without their player of the season Andy Peatfield. Their cause was not helped when Captain Ben Hollands was injured within the first 5 minutes and could play little part in the proceedings.

It soon became apparent that Leamington were up for the challenge, needing the win to take 2nd spot in the league. They took the game to Stafford, forcing them to defend deep. The defence held firm but Dan Howe in goals was forced into a number of early saves.

Leamington took the lead from a defensive mistake, Leamington broke and scored with a tap in at the far post. Stafford rallied, winning a number of penalty corners, a switch to Piers Wooller saw his shot saved but James Wilde was on hand to score with an excellent reverse stick shot into the roof of the net.

Things evened out after that, Stafford could have scored when Giles Rowden fired past the post and Charlie Trotter squandered a penalty corner. Dan Howe was called on to make an excellent stick save that saw the ball go over the bar.

Leamington grabbed the winner late on in the second half, a penalty corner was well saved initially but the ball broke to the far post and the opportunity was taken.

Stafford had a couple of half chances later on but could not take them, Leamington controlled the ball well and ensured the win.

Congratulations to them, Stafford will hopefully see them next season in West Midlands Premier, barring any re-shuffling.

1st Team Match Report v Pershore

Stafford HC 1st team confirmed their position as champions of West Midlands Division 1 with an impressive 4-1 victory away at Pershore HC. Stafford have clinched the league with two games in hand and remain unbeaten this season.

That said Pershore did their hardest to spoil the party with a determined effort, frustrating their visitors with a 1-1 score line until into the second half. Stafford started well enough, winning a penalty corner which Piers Wooller despatched at the second effort. The visitors kept pushing forward but found a goal-keeper in fine form, Giles Rowden hit the post and Stafford could not dispatch the rest of their penalty corners.

Pershore then broke, forced the Stafford defence into an error in the circle and were awarded a penalty corner, this was dispatched with aplomb into the corner of Dan Howe’s goal.

A well deserved rollicking from coach Ed Wills at half time, seemed to do the trick and Stafford came out all guns blazing in the second half. Charlie Trotter scored from a penalty corner, dispatched neatly into the bottom corner, Captain Ben Hollands then added to his seasons tally with a deflected shot.

There was still time for Dave Anderson to miss a penalty stroke after Hollands was upended in the circle. The best goal was saved to last as defender Mike Wattley found himself in unfamiliar territory in the opposition circle, he skipped past a couple of defenders before slotting the ball neatly into the goal.

A great game, played against a very capable opponent who wanted to play hockey. Stafford will want to close out the season in style, next week they host Newtown HC from Wales, 1.00pm at Beaconside.