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.