Match Report : Neil Murphy
Result : DRAW 2-2 vs MBDA 1
An experienced 5A’s rolled into Hitchin for the second time this season but this time to face MBDA 1st team (no less). Earlier this season we managed to snatch a 2-2 draw from the jaws of victory against Blueharts at this venue.
With our usual juniors otherwise engaged, our youth element lay with 17 year olds Daniel and Alex, offsetting the advancing years of the usual suspects plus guest appearances from Matt (second week running), Rory and James Marriott (adding significantly to our fitness levels, unlike).
A tactical masterstroke to win the toss and change ends so we had the fading sun behind us, seemed to pay off as the oppo had never witnessed the like before and we dominated all the early skirmishes.
The pattern of the day seemed to be set early. Lots of Southgate possession, lots of forays into the D, a bit too much dribbling, a bit too little passing, a lack of width in our play. MBDA also set out their stall – strong tackling defence, hard hitting clearances up to two very speedy forwards with good first touches.
After 15 minutes, a period of 5A attacking saw the ball come loose to Michiel driving in from midfield. A cool tap in took us to 1-0 up. Our control of the game continued but was largely unproductive as the MBDA defence stood firm and occasionally threatened on the break. In one of the aforementioned breaks we were outnumbered and outrun at the back. A neat finish, 1-1.
Back we came strongly. More possession and this time rewarded in what is becoming a trademark James Findlay finish – ball sent into the D and a neat reverse stick finish from somewhere near the P-spot. 2-1 at half time.
Not for the first time, we knew there would be more goals in the game. Generally a much better half of hockey ensued for Southgate. Even more possession and better use of the width but perhaps not sufficiently better or different play to convert into goals. More short corners, more drives into the D and one brilliant run from the ever dangerous Alex Hyer. Still no more goals. And then…an almost carbon copy of MBDA’s first goal – we lost possession just outside their D, a hard hit up the pitch found the touch of their speedy forward and another smart finish..2-2.
We got our heads down and worked hard. For the second week running, could we find the last minute winner?…..NO!
A final score of 2-2 was probably a fair result in many ways but most 5A’s left for home (via Hitchin’s Orange Tree pub) feeling that this really was a game we could have won.
Despite the disappointment there were some good performances and hence MoM votes. Both Daniel and Alex led the midfield with good displays, Randall and Chris Rouse deservedly got votes. MoM, however, for the second week running was our defender of last resort, Matt Mitchell – also adding a green card to his list of awards for an over zealous (probably a first for 5A’s) tackle.
Next week, Bishops Stortford to avenge a 3-0 defeat in October.