1st Team Match Report v Market Drayton

Stafford HC 1st team’s impressive early season form came to an abrupt end last weekend, losing 5-2 to experienced campaigners Market Drayton HC.

In truth the game was over in the first 20 minutes, with Stafford conceding 4 goals in a sloppy first half. The team improved in the second half to score two consolation goals but lessons need to be learnt.

Market Drayton with home advantage used the slope on the Keele University pitch well, a misplaced pass by Ed Handley allowed a quick counter attack and Brendan Jones grabbed his first of four goals in the game. Stafford kept pressing forward and did win a number of penalty corners, however they were not able to make them count.

Then mistakes again allowed the opposition to break and Drayton were clinical in finishing past a beleaguered Dan Howe in goals.

At the break Stafford regathered and came out in much more positive manner, Charlie Trotter scored with a lovely drag flick into the side netting. Market Drayton grabbed a fifth after another quick counter attack and still had time to hit the post twice!

Stafford grabbed their second after a nice pass from Piers Wooller and a neat touch from Andy Barnett wrong footing the keeper.

Hopefully Stafford will learn from their mistakes next week and get back to winning ways against Kings Heath HC, 1.00pm start at Beaconside.

1st Team Match Report v Wednesbury

Stafford HC 1st team are the only unbeaten team in the West Midlands Premier league after an emphatic 5-0 win against Wednesbury HC.

Stafford have a poor record against Wednesbury and knew not to take the visitors for granted. A cagey start saw both sides probing each other, Stafford created a few half chances but they were well saved.

The first goal came after man of the match Dan Rennie rushed on to an incoming ball and slotted it into the bottom corner. After that Stafford took control, switching the ball around the back between Ed Handley, Will Trotter and Mike Wattley.

Soon afterwards Wednesbury won their only shot corner which was saved well by Dan Howe for his only touch of the game! Stafford scored their second after James Wild powered a shot in at a penalty corner.

After the break Stafford ran the visitors ragged, being able to play the ball up quickly to Giles Rowden and Charlie Trotter. It was only excellent goal keeping that kept the home team from scoring more. Eventually Wednesbury tired, Charlie Trotter grabbed a well deserved goal, picking up the pieces at the far post to put the ball into the roof of the net.

Rennie got his second in a similar move before he completed his hat trick with a wonderful team goal, four one touch passes for a simple tap in.

These are great times on the pitch for the County town team, next week they face another old foe in Market Drayton HC, a 2.00pm push back at Keele University.

1st Team Match Report v Aldridge and Walsall

Stafford HC 1st team continued their impressive start to their West Midlands Premier campaign last weekend with a 4-1 over visitors Bromsgrove HC.

They got off to the perfect start, when Charlie Trotter returning to the team scored with his first touch. It was excellent approach work by James Wild and Dan Rennie that presented Trotter with the simple task of putting it into the bottom corner.

The game settled down after that, Bromsgrove being experienced campaigners in this league were able to play possession hockey. They created a few chances but nothing that Richard Buka, Ed Handley or Dan Howe in goal could not cope with.

Stafford then doubled their lead, a quick free hit by Giles Rowden put Trotter away, he turned his man and fired into the bottom corner. There was still time for Rennie to miss a good chance but 2-0 at half time.

After the break, Bromsgrove put some concerted pressure on Stafford, a defensive error saw their efforts rewarded by a nice goal, played through Howe’s legs to give the visitors hope. However Stafford stuck to their game plan, pressing high and forcing Bromsgrove into mistakes. James Wild grabbed his first of the campaign after a nice touch to beat the keeper and then Stafford secured all three points when Charlie Trotter completed his hat trick by running on to a floated pass and finishing well.

Stafford are joint top with Aldridge and Walsall HC who they play next week, away at Aston University 2.30pm push back.

1st Team Match Report v Bromsgrove

Stafford HC 1st team continued their impressive start to their West Midlands Premier campaign last weekend with a 4-1 over visitors Bromsgrove HC.

They got off to the perfect start, when Charlie Trotter returning to the team scored with his first touch. It was excellent approach work by James Wild and Dan Rennie that presented Trotter with the simple task of putting it into the bottom corner.

The game settled down after that, Bromsgrove being experienced campaigners in this league were able to play possession hockey. They created a few chances but nothing that Richard Buka, Ed Handley or Dan Howe in goal could not cope with.

Stafford then doubled their lead, a quick free hit by Giles Rowden put Trotter away, he turned his man and fired into the bottom corner. There was still time for Rennie to miss a good chance but 2-0 at half time.

After the break, Bromsgrove put some concerted pressure on Stafford, a defensive error saw their efforts rewarded by a nice goal, played through Howe’s legs to give the visitors hope. However Stafford stuck to their game plan, pressing high and forcing Bromsgrove into mistakes. James Wild grabbed his first of the campaign after a nice touch to beat the keeper and then Stafford secured all three points when Charlie Trotter completed his hat trick by running on to a floated pass and finishing well.

Stafford are joint top with Aldridge and Walsall HC who they play next week, away at Aston University 2.30pm push back.

1st Team Match Report v Solihull Blossomfield

Stafford HC 1st team got their West Midlands Premier division campaign off to a wonderful start last weekend with an excellent 2-1 away win against Solihull Blossomfield HC.

The newly promoted Riverway team were missing last year’s top scorer Charlie Trotter and travelled with a bare eleven compared to the opposition squad of 14 players. To make things even more difficult, three of the players got stuck in traffic and arrived a minute before the start time.

It soon became apparent that Blossomfield were very well organised and put the Stafford team under considerable pressure, a big wake up call to how league hockey will be this season. That said, Stafford defended very well, Dr Richard Buka, Ed Handley and Lucas Delanchy breaking down the attacks. Stafford were not able to create much and it looked like it could be a long afternoon.

Blossomfield took the lead when they won a penalty corner, a wicked deflection off Ben Hollands’ stick saw Dan Howe in goal save well, the rebound however was put through his legs.

The home team then probably made the mistake of sitting back and allowing Stafford to gain their composure. The work rate of James Wild and Andy Barnett saw Stafford start to create chances. Just before the break they won their only penalty corner, Piers Wooller took on the shot and it again deflected off Hollands stick but this time to be saved illegally on the line by a Blossomfield player. Ed Handley took on the penalty and calmly slotted it in for his first Stafford goal, 1-1 at half time.

After the break Stafford were pretty much in control, a few good attacks saw Dan Rennie and Giles Rowden miss chances. They took the lead after a Ben Hollands burst into the circle and his shot cannoned off Andrew Barnett’s stick into the goal. Blossomfield appealed hard about a missed foul but the goal was allowed.

The home team then started to lose their composure, they created chances but seemed to lack the final touch. Stafford were able to shut up shop and the final whistle went to jubilant Stafford scenes.

An excellent performance will give Stafford great hope that they can do well in this competitive league. Next week a full strength squad see them host Bromsgrove HC at Beaconside, 1.00pm push back.