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Saturday, 28 November 2009

Match reports November 28 2009

The 1st XI remained top of Surrey/Hants 2 with a 4-1 win over Southampton’s second side , but the result of the day came at Battersea where the Ladies beat runaway leaders Spencer 3-1 to move third. Results elsewhere were not so good. The 2nd XI slid back into relegation trouble with a 2-4 loss at home to Barnes, the 3rd XI’s six-match unbeaten run ended 1-3 at Sanderstead, the 4th XI went down 0-1 at home to Sunbury, and the Vets lost 1-3 to Wimbledon..

Click here for this week's match photos

Southampton II 1-4 1st XI
A hard fought and not pretty win with our coming up against a stubborn Southampton 2s who wanted to do their 1s a favour.

We knew we would have to be patient against a defensively minded Southampton by playing the ball around and building slowly. However it took a goal against the run of play to spur us into action with the home side taking the lead following a poor tackle from CV, a short and our usual defensive frailties in conceding a goal that should never have been let in.

Five minutes later we drew level with Rippers setting up Knapp and from then on it was a matter of when rather than if. Down to nine men for the last five of the first half we failed to capitalise, the home keeper saving well a couple of times but our six short corners coming to nought. We really do have to work on these.

The second corner of the second did bring our second, Knapp sniffing off the keeper at the fourth attempt prompting Hunter to question if age had caught up with him at last. This prompted Southampton to change tack and come out of their defensive mind set and we benefited with the greater space, Cookiey this time picking the ball off the keepers pads and popping the ball home. A later short was walloped home by Eds to make the score 4-1 but two from 12 corners is a poor return.

Cato won man of the match for a solid performance at the back although Rippers had his best game of the season and arguably had more telling touches and effect on the game in central midfield.

Wanderers beat Southampton and so tightens matters at the top with our having dropped four points, Southampton and Wanderers five. Two games to go before the break and six points required.

Spender 1-3 Ladies XI
This week saw us come head to head with the current league leaders, Spencer, and it can safely be said there were a few pre-match nerves about this one. However, after a few encouraging pre-match words from Goalie and some great team spirit, the ladies were set for leaving the pitch with nothing less than three points.

As in any match, it took a few minutes to settle into the game but we had soon got to grips with the opposition's playing style and were quick to get up in the D and get a few shots on goal. A cheeky flick in the back of the net from Sarah Mann put us 1-0 up. Spencer, looking slightly uneased by this early goal, soon realised this match wasn't going to be a walk in the park for them. The remainder of the first half saw some great one - twos and brilliant defending. However, a lucky straight strike from the top of the D by a Spencer forward saw the score hit 1-1 by the half time whistle.

The second half was a different story altogether. From the whistle, we were looking more confident than ever and as a result, did a fantastic job of putting training into practice. In defence, no Spencer player was left unmarked causing them to make rush moves, resulting in nothing more than giving us a few more sixteens. Making the most of these, the ball was soon up in the opposing D and some fanstastic textbook moves from the the mids and forwards saw us get two more brilliant goals from Jax and Vikki. All in all, it was a great effort all round which resulted in a well deserved win! Lucy Bevin

2nd XI 2-4 Barnes
Click here for this week's match photos
With a strong side (albeit with a number of new faces, and completely different from the week before) we were confident in beating a Barnes team who sat immediately below us in the league before the game. We were once again dealt a blow in the build up to the game losing Cookiey, called up after taking his opportunity to shine for the 1s the previous week, and Heardy to another 1s injury.

We started brightly enough, creating some early pressure in their d. However they were already proving dangerous on the break and we conceded first. This pressed us into action and a well worked move down the left left Porter unmarked on the left post to slot home for our first. We conceded another at the break, demonstrating an alarming tendency to miss repeated tackles, allowing their strong midfield to flood through. Once again our inability to hold the ball up front was the other main cause of our demise.

The second half continued in much the same vain. Repeated deliberate fouling in the middle third of the pitch by them effectively broke our flow and went unpunished by the umpires, in fact seemingly obvious decisions actually went against us. Bizarrely we were the first side to get a yellow, Will Stephens was the unfortunate recipient. Finally three quarters of an hour late they got a yellow for yet another shocking challenge. By then it was too late and the 4 goals we conceded could have been more were it not for some fine last ditch tackling (JP Davidson in particular) and some good saves by Paul Watson (on his debut). We finally got one back with a scrappy goal finally put away by James Bents.

We are now in 10th place and we have Old Kingstonians (5th) and Oxted (6th) before Christmas. In fairness Barnes were one of the better sides we have played so far, but in truth we were poor. We must build on short passages of great hockey (both in attack and defence) that we have been able to put together in small parts of games. A regular side that doesn’t change every week and a genuine striker would be very useful in developing this consistency. Rob Merry

Sanderstead 3-1 3rd XI
It’s really not a great mix for a Saturday afternoon, not only were we playing at one of the bleakest grounds possible where I swear it is 5 degrees colder than any where else. Then the afternoon was made complete by being greeted by everyones favourite umpire and also our favourite forward who it looked like had dropped down to the 3rd’s just for our pleasure. Nevertheless these two favourites were on surprisingly pleasant form especially the latter who seemed to have turned over a new leaf of serene calm. We didn’t need this pair to ruin our afternoon despite holding out until halftime at 0-0 we determined to throw it all away in the 2nd half. When Chris was taken off to hospital having head butted a stick we seemed to lose the urge to play. It was only when he had gone 3-0 down to three well taken goals by Sanderstead that we suddenly realised that we had actually come to the beautiful town of Croydon to play hockey. Although we pulled back one goal, through what was probably our only flowing move, with Andy slotting home from some great play by Stuey. There really wasn’t a great deal else to write home about. The only thing that we could take from this was that we really need to get ourselves back together for next week and also thankfully this was the only match in Croydon for the season. All our best goes to Chris who we can report spent a nice time (3Hours) in the joys of Maygay Hospital (reportedly a scary place at the best of times) and now sports a scar that would make Harry Potter pretty jealous. Nigel Hawes

4th XI 0-1 Sunbury
Report to follow

Vets 1-3 Wimbledon
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