5As bring back a win against 2nd in the League.

February 9, 2022

Result : WIN 2-1 vs Bishop Stortford 5

Match Report : Neil Murphy

After a disappointing 2-2 draw last week, 5A’s returned to Snakes Lane to take on second placed Bishops Stortford who comprehensively beat us 3-0 earlier in the season.

The assembled squad included debutant Oli Yaoz but otherwise the usual faces determined to make amends for last week, keep our marking tight, pass the ball, retain possession and use the width.

The first half got underway and we promptly forgot all the pre-match talk and were generally over run by a rampant Bishops Stortford, showing why they have had such a good season. Every time we broke down an attack we managed to return the ball to the oppo with ease; our breaks quickly ended by passing to the Stortford centre-mid or a pass to no-one in particular.

After 5 minutes, one aforementioned loss of possession, saw the ball back in our D and a neat finish from one of a number of canny veterans and we were deservedly 1-0 down. The rest of the half followed a similar pattern with our defence constantly under pressure, and successful tackles needlessly given away. Ten minutes in and the best guess of a half time score might have been 4-0 down…..somehow, however, we hung on – very little possession but we kelp them out. Half time 0-1 to Stortford.

The second half got underway with a 5A determination to show we were better than what had been seen so far. An epic second half followed…. The most determined, focussed effort of the season against one of the best teams. Our sturdy defence kept on tackling, closing down and win the 50/50 battles. This time the passes were strung together and we were dominating possession. Short corners followed, we packed their D. For the second week running we can report a trademark James Findlay finish and 1-1, we were back in it…15 minutes to go….now it was all Southgate….but we were up against an experienced defence.

Not for the first time this season, youth started to dominate experience. In particular, Sohan, Yuvraj and Oli showed their mettle – fighting for every ball, getting to the ball first and inspiring their team mates onwards. From the back Michiel was driving forwards, winning possession and feeding Sohan and Yuvraj.

A short corner and the new formation of Michiel striking to Antony’s injection was in action again. No mistake, the ball crashed into the back board 2-1 to 5A’s. I think people were on the pitch, they thought it was all over….Michael Burman blew his whistle…it is now!

A superb team effort, nothing left on the pitch except blood, sweat and tears (of joy..). As good a victory as we have had this season – and there’s been some good ones.

The goal scorers Michiel and James take some glory but everyone contributed to the full and deserved to savour the moment with a battle well won.

Man of the Match was a decidedly one-sided affair – SOHAN with his best game of the season encapsulated the spirit of 5A’s and a unanimous MoM. Notable mentions along the way for Yuvraj, Michiel, Chris and Mark.

West Herts are comfortably top of the table but the battle for second is incredibly tight and 5A’s are right in it having beaten fellow contenders Welwyn and Stortford over the last three weeks. Hold on tight for the ride to the end of the season….Next week we take on not just Shefford but Sandy as well!

Southgate Hockey Club. Great fun, great hockey, great facilities.