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Comfortable Start to the League Season

Surprisingly, the score could have flattered Cheltenham.  Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, should have made double figures in their first League game of the season.  Given the incredible, unseasonal October weather, 3 substitutes proved the right choice and kept Stroud’s side as fresh as possible.  The match began evenly, Cheltenham looking organised and dangerous on the break.  Stroud settled within 10 minutes, however, Nick Hitchcroft and Steve Shipp taking control of the midfield.  Much better distribution this week, released Craig Wathen and Rohan Sopp on the right and left, respectively.  As the game progressed, Rob Gleed and Alan Edwards pushed forward to give greater support.  Returning Ben Orme struck first, his trademark tenacity evident throughout.  Rob Gleed then poached a goal with his reverse before the ever-active man-of-the-match Shipp put the visitors 3 up by half time.  Stroud still needed to keep their foot on the gas, though.  Cheltenham were tricky on the break and Dave Cruickshank was called upon to make several good saves.  In general, Stroud played a calculating passing game, holding up the ball and looking to move it on.  When they reverted to the dribbling game, it simply didn’t work.  Hard work up front meant Stroud always had an outlet.  Gleed found Tim Norman with a 60 metre pass and he dispatched his flick with ease.  Late to the party, Zac Lees then scored a quick and clinical hat trick as Norman struck the left post 3 times.  Stroud’s nice mix of youth and experience was evident once again, Shipp and Hitchcroft working well together at centre mid.  Derek Pittaway and Reg Gealer provided a steadying influence, while Jack Hamilton and Matt Watts had solid games.  On a constructive critical note, more short corners need to be won, instead of going for half chances.  Stroud will look to consolidate their fine but comfortable start when they play hosts to Leominster A at 2 p.m. next Saturday.

This entry was posted on 03 October 2011 at 09:50 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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