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Mens 2nd XI 2 Stroud 1 Sunday, January 21, 2007

Posted by mrfolds in Cheltenham Hockey, Field Hockey, Match Report, Mens 2nd XI.
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A superb battling performance saw the seconds outplay a skillful Stroud side containing several ex-Lansdown players. Everyone in the team was really up for the match and it showed from the start as we were physically and mentally stronger. We controlled the midfield with Ian Matthews, Dave Holdaway & Mark Williams strong tackling releasing Jon Thompson & Andy Allen upfront to take the game to Stroud. Jon scored the first in typical fashion, battling his way past several defenders to score from close range. The second came from Ian Matthew’s free hit just outside the circle which Dave Holdaway deflected on target only for the keeper to make a superb reflex save. However, James Mears followed up brilliantly to squeeze the ball home from an acute angle. Stroud’s attacks were thwarted by impressive defensive work through Rich Fear, Sid Ellis, Tim Postlethwaite and Dave Jones and when they did hit the target Ace Cupper produced some fine saves.

The second half became more and more scrappy and bad tempered as we continued to frustrate Stroud through Captain Andy Allen’s cunning tactics. Both sides were reduced to ten players JT for foul play and Stroud’s captain for verbal abuse and this did seem to calm both sides down. Stroud pulled a goal back through a well placed shot when for once we failed to mark and left a man free. However, we quickly tightened our defence as Stroud came at us strongly in the last quarter. The impressive Dave Jones and Tim Postlethwaite in particular made several excellent last ditch tackles to deny a shot at goal. Ace produced a top drawer save near the end, diving to his right to tip the ball around the post. Stroud took off their keeper and played eleven outfield players, taking advantage of the new rules but to no avail.

A fantastic win meant we completed the double over Stroud and kept us in at least third place and at least only two points behind the leaders Wootton, who we meet next week. Many thanks to Steve Plant and Gary McCartan whose strong umpiring was needed in very trying circumstances.

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