5A’s fall short in Watford despite Willmott wonder goal 

Result : LOSS 3-4 vs West Herts M5

Match Report : Neil Murphy

In the temporary absence of some of our regulars from last season, the 5A’s have been acquiring high quality father/son combinations to bolster our resources.

Following last week’s Dutch pairing of Michiel and Tom, this week we had a set of double debuts. Joining club stalwart Nick Wood was son, James alongwith Peter and Will Roughton. The future is bright and we look forward to seeing the youngsters steadily eclipse their Dads in the time honoured fashion.

West Herts is always a tough battle and they fielded a similar team of experience and youth as we did. We got off to a good start with lots of possession, good use of the width and a generally positive attitude.

This effort was swiftly rewarded when after 15 minutes Peter marked his debut with a goal from a goalmouth melee. Shortly after, Woody showed his class and completed a well taken goal. 2-0 up and the center back pairing of Rory and Murphy were anticipating a quiet afternoon before a leisurely pint, enjoying the Watford sunshine.

A rude awakening beckoned when West Herts got one back but 5A responded in the appropriate way and fought straight back. Regaining momentum and looking as if we meant business. The midfield combinations of Duncan, Daniel, Rob and Oli increased the pressure relentlessly – all the play was in the oppo’s half. Our defence ensured any counters were quickly closed down with Will and Fin playing well and supporting the attack.

But strange things are happening all around us, wars, currency crises, energy crises but nothing to match what happened next. Sweeper Rory Willmott picked the ball up just inside the West Herts half and drove forward at full pace, went wide left to get behind the midfield and continued his foray into the D. Cutting inside and on to his open stick, Rory unleashed a strike that was nothing short of unstoppable, GOAL! The crowd roared, 5A’s roared and Rory roared.

3-1 up and little over 5 minutes to half time. A West Herts short corner was conceded and one of their canny veterans stepped forward to execute a near perfect drag flick into the roof of the net.

The half time whistle blew and a 3-2 lead did not do justice to our dominance. We were aware that we had lost too much possession and rushed too much, so composure was the key half time message.
Sadly, West Herts were on the up and from their second attack they scored a good goal taking advantage of Duncan’s absence to move his car.

3-3 and the momentum of the game was shifting. With two West Herts forwards playing high and some grass hockey 16’s peppering the midfield, we were up against it. Some stout defending from Will, Rory and Fin and the midfield working hard kept things equal and a super save from goalie, Nigel.

However, the warm weather and early season rustiness began to show. Some scrappy play from Southgate and lack of composure meant we were unable to feed much ball to Woody, James and their fellow forwards. Eventually the West Herts pressure was made to count when a goalmouth skirmish somehow saw the ball trickle over the line to give a 3-4 lead to the hosts.

And so it ended, disappointment etched deep into the faces of the 5A’s. The pain soothed somewhat by the impressive debut performances of our youngsters, the knowledge that they will get better and better as the season goes on and of course the knowledge that we had glimpsed the rare sight of a Rory Willmott goal.

Much hard work for little reward today. The Man of the Match vote went to young Will Roughton for sterling work throughout the back line.

On to next week…