Match Report : Neil Murphy
Result : WIN 2-1 Welwyn Garden City 3
The second half of the season got underway with the 10.30 early start at Trent Park against Welwyn.
We had two or three real low points at the beginning of the season and one of them was a poor 3-0 defeat up at Welwyn – it could easily have been worse.
So this week we had two aims; to show Welwyn we are capable of playing good hockey and also to collect 3 points.
A 14 man squad of 5A regulars were up for the task. We started well and had much of the possession, a few short corners and some good chances from open play. Chris Ray went close twice, Fergus attacked from midfield alongside Antony and Phil. Sohan and Youvraj constantly caused problems for the defence.
However, Welwyn are a canny veterans side supported by a couple of speedy wingers. Their skilful midfielders were always a worry. Our defence was regularly under pressure with Matt resolute at the back clearing our lines. Mark, Michiel and Giles worked hard to break down attacks and Antony kept on top of their key player in midfield.
Well into the first half and we were struggling to make our possession count. Another period of action in the Welwyn D enabled Fin to pounce on a loose ball – 1 up to 5A’s.
The second half followed the pattern of the first but Welwyn increasingly gained possession and pushed players forward. We were losing control and discipline and conceding the ball. With 15 minutes to go a Welwyn short corner saw the ball come free at the top of our D, a good strike and it was 1-1 – the pressure was now on Southgate.
The next five minutes or so was all about Welwyn piling on the pressure. Slowly we collected our composure, focussed our efforts and returned to our proven formula of disciplined hockey, recycling the ball round the back and using the width of the pitch. As ever, this started to pay off with more attacks in their D and closing them down quickly – chances started to emerge but the clock was ticking down. With barely one minute left Phil was in front of goal, the ball came loose and a cool finish took us to 2-1 and the final whistle sounded to the huge relief of all of us and the assembled Men’s 2’s who were waiting to start their London Premier League game and get into the dugout. Clearly inspired by the 5A’s the 2’s put in a barn storming performance to win 6-1.
For once the MoM vote was dominated by one player – the excellent Matt Michell who tirelessly controlled our defence but we should also note another huge effort from our midfield and our ever improving junior contingent. We’ve climbed to fourth in the table with a game in hand over those above us…next stop MBDA.