All the match reports and results from a big weekend at Stortford in the race for promotions, with Ladies and Men’s 1’s back to winning ways.
Ladies 1’s v Upminster 1’s – East Premier League
3 – 2 Win (Away
After two successive defeats Stortford Ladies needed to return to their winning ways if they were to maintain their title chances and their hopes of promotion to the National League. Their victory at low lying Upminster has revitalised their chances but it was not achieved without it’s difficulties.
Coach Nick Prowse was delighted with the first 20 minutes, ‘We established early control and played with pace and confidence, scoring two good goals and looking very comfortable in possession. We really should’ve put the game to bed in the first half but we missed a series of golden chances, inexcusable at this level.
‘But you expect teams in the Premier League to come back at you if you give them the chance and Upminster, with an element of good fortune, were gifted the chance to get back into the game, which they seized and they were asking all the questions in the frantic final minutes. We were hanging on and pleased to hear the final whistle, clinging on to a narrow advantage. ‘
Liv Smerdon scored Stortford’s early goals, her tenth of the season, both from close range after some well rehearsed short corner routines. Katie Richards went close to extending the lead with a terrific reverse stick shot that just flashed over the crossbar after a brilliant solo run. But it was Upminster who scored next, pulling a goal back just before half time.
At the start of the second half Stortford regained control and increased their lead through Imogen Basavaraji, back to her best form, and awarded ‘Player of the Day.’ The visitors looked to have the game secure but a penalty flick awarded to Upminster with 10 minutes remaining gave Upminster hope and from then on keeper Ali Martyn and the Stortford defence had to be at their best to endure a final flourish from the home side and hold out for the win.
Next up is the visit of Dereham after the half term break.
Men’s 1s v Havering – East Div 1 South
2 – 1 win (Away)
Saturday saw the blues travel to Campion School in East London, with a reinvigorated squad ready to put the tough game of the previous week behind them.
The opening minutes of the game saw a mix of possession as Stortford settled into the game. Before long they had some opening chances with a move down the left hand side of the pitch saw the ball fall to Tom Nash on the right of the D, unleashing on the ball, sending it rocketing just wide of the goalposts.
Stortford dominated possession and pressed hard, Havering unable to get the ball out from the back with anything but an aerial. It wasn’t long until the opening goal was scored By Ali Charlton with a baseline run into the D, saw him send the keeper one way to block a potential cross whilst Ali swerved around him and walked the ball into the goal.
Havering came close when an aerial being chucked over the Stortford back line saw goal keeper Ryan Cruwys save a 1:1 with Paul Round recovering to send the ball out of the Stortford D.
Havering kept coming and eventually a run from their central midfielder saw several Stortford players close around him unable to make a tackle before he was able to squeeze the ball to a player in the Stortford D who placed the ball into the bottom left corner after some weak control from Harris Owen.
The whistle blew for the first half leaving the scoreline 1-1 with Stortford disappointed to be drawing. When play resumed, the standard of hockey fell and the game became very stop start with players from the Havering team questioning the umpires decisions. Stortford continued to dominate possession winning several short corners which Jack Wheaton attempted to sling into the goal, only to be stopped by the Havering keeper. The odd counter attack from Havering saw some solid defence from Craig Smith and Alex Hall who then would work the ball well back up the pitch.
Midway through the second half an aerial from a Havering hit out was taken down carefully by Andy Round who passed the ball accurately to Harry Carpenter who drove at a 45 degree angle towards the D, clipping the ball in and a delicate touch from Andy enabling Tom Frenzel to find the ball at the top of the D with his back to goal, pirouetting and sending the ball rocketing into the top right off his back foot.
The game finished Havering 1, Stortford 2 the opposition imploding by the end of it. Stortford take home the three points and move on to face Shefford & Sandy in two weeks time, promotion still in sight.
Ladies 2’s v Saffron Walden 1’s – East Division 2 South West
4 – 2 Win (Home)
Two goals in each half secured back to back wins for Stortford to keep them in the top four with just five games left to play.
Despite the visitors position near the bottom of the league, their recent run of good form meant Stortford couldn’t afford to be complacent. The hosts got off to the perfect start, converting their first short corner in the opening minutes. A pin point pass fired towards the back post by Natasha Reid, deflected in by Anna Sydes for the opener. Stortford dominated for much of the half, Nicky Bareham, teed up by Lizzie Roberts, burying an unstoppable shot past the Walden keeper for Stortfords second. The intensity of the half began to show as the hosts tired in the closing minutes of the first half, giving Saffron Walden a way back in as Stortford were punished for failing to clear a ball out of defence and going in to the break 2-12 up.
Recharged from the half time break, Stortford began to take control of the game, Suzanne Holmes deflecting in a ball from Bareham from another short corner, 3-1. Walden, limited to counter attacks, pulled another back as they played a long ball through, the forward rounding the keeper. Defender Anoushka Shaw sprinting back to save the initial shot of the line, but outnumbered by Walden could do nothing about the follow up, 3-2. Stortford restored the two goal advantage with another short corner. This time Reid, shaping up to pass, spotted a gap at the near post and fired home to guarantee Stortford all three point.
Player of the match: Rori Fletcher
Men’s 2’s v Potters Bar 2’s – East Div 3SW
1 – 1 (Away)
The Mens 2nd team suffered a dent in their chase for promotion as they drew 1:1 away to Potters Bar 2s. A win was needed to stay top of the league but a goal conceded early in the second half seemingly put it out of reach. However a goal from Jon Taylor with ten minutes remaining swung the momentum back in Stortfords favour, a last second short corner gave them hope of grabbing all three points but they failed to find the back of the net, the final whistle blew. The disappointing result drops Stortford to second in the table with only a handful of games remaining in the season” final few minutes, but it was too little too late as Stortford held on for the win, taking all three points and pole position in the title race.
Ladies 3’s v Royston 1’s – East Div 3 South West
0 – 2 loss (away)
The ladies 3’s pushed back late in a match hampered by things that were out of their control. Stortford started brightly but we were soon under pressure at the back. Joint Player of the match Thea Came alongside Helen Perry & Issy Good made some excellent tackles but unfortunately Royston struck first to take a 1-0 lead. Joint player of the match Issy Hatfield almost levelled it up just before half time with a cracking reverse stick shot that was going into the top left corner. Unfortunately the Royston keeper made a superb save and turned it wide. In both half’s Stortford gained several short corners but were unable to put them away. In the 2nd half Royston struck again with a set play from a long corner. Charlotte Smith almost pulled one back just before the final whistle but again the Royston keeper turned it wide of the post.
Men’s 3’s v Cheshunt 1’s – East Div 3SW
3 – 4 Loss (away)
Stortford came into the match having had a difficult start to the second half of the season, and fielded it’s youngest side to date. Stortford started positively and piled on the pressure, with Broxbourne struggling to get out of their own half. It took 15 minutes before the deadlock was broken, with Paul Kerby firing into the bottom right hand corner to make it 1-0. The second came soon after, with Jak Bareham finishing a rebound from a short corner. Stortford continued with the pressure, resulting in a number of two on one’s, however the final ball lacked the accuracy it needed.
The second half started just as it finished, with Stortford dominating possession, and the young forwards causing the Broxbourne defence problems. Henry Carr won a short corner with good work down the right, which Greg Pettitt converted to make it 3-0. Kerby then grabbed a fourth shortly after from a rebounded shot, and then a deliberate foot on the line by a Broxbourne defender resulted in a penalty flick, which Pettitt scored to make 5-0. A yellow card for Broxbourne half way through the second half allowed even more gaps to appear against a tired Broxbourne defence, which Jake Anders capitalised on to make it 6-0. As Broxbourne pressed forward to try and grab one back, Stortford intercepted and a counter attack followed, ending with a well taken finish by Toby Warnes for his first goal for the third team. A fantastic 7-0 victory, and a much needed 3 points.
Ladies Archdeaconesses (4’s) v Bedford 4’s – East Div 3SW
2 – 2 draw (Home)
Stortford started strong and were unlucky not to score from short corners seeing Bedford clear two off of the goal line
Bedford went on to score however Stortford equalised from a goal from Hannah Wynne before half-time The second-half saw Stortford dominate for long periods of time eventually leading to a goal from Zoe Barford. Lori Morrison GK kept Stortford in the game with a series of saves, before Bedford equalised in the last minute to claim game as a draw.
Men’s 4’s v Cheshunt 1’s – East Div 4SW
1 -1 (Home)
Ladies 5’s v St Albans’s Boadiceas – East Division 5 South West
0 – 2 (Loss) Home
An unlucky 2-0 loss against St Albans. Whilst Stortford had most of the possession, the opposing side made the most of their counter attacks. There were some close opportunities, and lots of pressure against St Albans.
There was amazing play all round but specifically from Alice Lowe, Zoë Bovaird, and Eva Sanderson who were voted players of the match. Well played everyone!
Men’s 5’s v Hertford 5’s – East Division 6SW
2 – 0 win (Home)
Stortford 5’s got back to winning ways this week with a hard worked 2-0 win against Hertford 5s maintaining their second place position in the league. Stortford began the first half on the back foot with little possession and lots of play in our defensive half. However, due to some superb tackling and clearances from the calm and collected Centre-back duo of Charlie Kittrell and Grahame Smith the men’s 5s held Hertford at bay preventing them creating any clear cut chances.
Half way through the first half the tables turned and Stortford began to show the dominance that has been on display for most of the season playing attacking hockey with lots of possession. After a few missed chances Stortford worked the ball down the right hand side of the pitch and crossed the ball across the D where Freddy Petar was ready and waiting to slot the ball home with a great finish, scoring on his debut for the men’s 5s! The halftime whistle blew with the score 1-0 to Stortford.
A change in formation at the break allowed Stortford to continue playing with high intensity and lots of possession throughout the second half. After two good saves from their keeper it was third time unlucky for Hertford as Duncan Laws was able to fire the ball into the back of the net putting us 2-0 up! The final whistle blew and alongside a clean sheet, 3 points where secured. All in all a good day at the office.
Acolytes (6’s) v Chelmsford 8’s– East Div 6 South East
3-0 Win (away)
The Amazing Acolytes [Ladies 6 XI] arrived layered up and ready to play last Saturday at the unholy hour of 9:30. Despite the time, the cold and the crosswind, the always determined Acolytes were ready to play. Whatsmore, they were ready to win.
The one and only Claire Smith announced the tone of the match with an excellent goal from a short corner, 4 minutes in. Today, Mel Drummet once again showed everyone why she is an integral forward to the Acolytes. She assisted the first goal and scored her own later in the first half. Liv Brierley also scored a well-deserved goal 12 minutes in with a powerful clean strike.
The Acolytes showed Chelmsford that they would have to work hard to breakthrough. The press was well-formed and the defence quickly shut down any attempts towards the goal. Because of this, the dominating majority of play was in the Chelmsford defensive half. At halftime, the Acotlyes looked set for another convincing win.
After jelly babies, water, and an encouraging team talk, the team walked onto the pitch reengergised. Brierley began the second half with a drive towards the goal and was nearly successful at scoring again. Though there were many shots at goal, and many short corners awarded, the Acolytes were unable to score in the second half. The final 23 was too congested to be able to make a successful goal. Yet, the Acolytes displayed composure and game awareness by frequently ‘resetting’ and passing backwards to try a new attack. Though no attempts were successful, the team still dominated and enjoyed a lovely match tea afterwards. The team awarded Player of the Match to Liv Brierley, and the goal scorers were Smith – 1, Drummet – 1, Brierley – 1.
Ladies 7’s v Stevenage 6’s – East Div 7 South West
2 – 0 Win (Home)
The Ladies 7s increased their lead at the top of their league with a convincing 2 – 0 win over Stevenage. Early pressure from Stortford resulted in a fine move from defence to midfield culminating in a great pass from Mia Ratcliffe to Alice Taylor who slotted it past the opposition keeper. Despite further pressure from Stortford the second goal did not come until the middle of the second half when Alice Taylor picked up a rebound from the goalkeeper. Stortford’s defence worked hard to quell any attacks and Catherine Clune made a very good league debut for the 7s showing her versatility by playing both left and right back. The forwards always looked dangerous with some excellent passes from Alison Chadwick in particular. They were very ably supported by the midfield and Lillie Egbokhan and Emma ‘Edge’ Jaymes were named as joint Players of the Match. This was a closely fought game against our strongest opposition, with Stortford finishing as the dominant team and retaining their position at the top of the league, a great performance all round.
Ladies Curates 8’s v Welwyn Garden City 4’s – East Div 7 South West
1 – 6 Loss (Home)
A big thank you to all those who gave up their time to umpire games this weekend and support the club. None of these games are possible without them.