skip to content

Stroud On Top from the Start

Bourton and Sherborne 0  Stroud A 4
Goalscorers: Zac Lees (2), Tom Sharpe, Ben Orme

This was another inspired performance from Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity.  Having the dubious luxury of 14 players, captain Tim Norman elected to run the substitutions for the first half.  It proved a tremendous spectacle, Stroud coming out of the blocks in determined fashion.  It took a mere 3½ minutes for them to take the lead through a neat passing move, finished off by Tom Sharpe who thus claimed his first League goal for Stroud.  16 year old Calum Norman, rested by the 1st XI, was a welcome addition to the midfield and he formed a good working relationship with Steve Shipp.  Pivoting off each other, they fed the lively Sharpe and another 16 year old, Fin Dixon down the flanks.  Spotting Sherborne’s defensive weaknesses, Stroud capitalised by passing the ball wide.  Zac Lees, who earned himself the man-of-the-match award, and Ben Orme ran the defence ragged.  Several superb balls from Shipp and Calum Norman to the back line almost resulted in goals as Orme and Lees peeled away from the goalmouth.  On the end of a stunning passing move down the right wing, Orme got his reward after 10 minutes to give Stroud a 2 goal advantage before 15 year old Rohan Sopp and Craig Wathen came on up front to continue the barrage.  Their more intricate stick skills gave a different slant on the game and Sherborne found it difficult to adjust.  Sopp had a couple of great strikes, one on the reverse, but the keeper stood firm to deny him.  Despite the pressure, the home side did break out on occasions, but Dave Cruickshank was imperious in Stroud’s goal.  He did a fine job ushering the defenders.  To be fair, Stroud’s defenders needed little advice.  Nick Hitchcroft, given a more unusual task of centre back, worked nicely with the ever-active Alan Edwards.  That backbone was a perfect foil to a strong midfield.  With the whole team giving 100% effort, control belonged to Stroud.  Half time came with Stroud 2-0 up, although it should have been more.

The break did nothing to dampen Stroud’s resolve.  As the midfield was working well, substitutions tended to be with the forwards, all of them keeping the tempo high.  Rob Gleed’s incisive passing from his right wing-back position gave Stroud a good springboard.  Whenever they looked ragged, Stroud recouped and made their possession and fitness tell.  As the game progressed, Edwards was able to push forward to support the midfield, sound in the knowledge that Hitchcroft and Matt Watts were covering his every move.  Tim Norman came on for a spell at left midfield.  It was obvious that a lot of space was made, but not always used.  When it was, the results were devastating.  Calum Norman and Shipp had time to pick their passes.  The forwards’ movement opened up the middle for the midfield to work.  Great work from Sopp earned Stroud a short corner from which Gleed was unlucky not to score.  Tim Norman worked well with Sharpe but still the goals did not materialise.  Perhaps Stroud could be guilty of over-complication near the D and also passing a little late at times – at any rate, their total control of the game was not being reflected in the goal tally.  It was left to Lees to correct that, his goal-scoring touch returning as he grabbed a quick brace to put the result beyond doubt.

This was an impressive display by Stroud, again one in which a double-figure tally was not out of the question.  Lots of positives can be taken – the 3 youngsters looked solid and hard-working.  Calum Norman looked much more composed alongside Shipp in the midfield, his pace putting Sherborne under a lot of pressure.  Dixon did a fine job, deputising towards the end for Edwards in front of defence.  Sopp used his lovely stick skills to fine effect.  Sharpe was tenacious and assured in midfield.  Shape-wise, Stroud looked strong.  Only on rare occasions was there a gap between defence and midfield, Gleed, Watts and Hitchcroft keeping well up with the game to support the team.  With Orme, Lees and Wathen all dangerous up front and Cruickshank keeping his first clean sheet of the season, this was a fine win.  The icing on the cake was previous leaders Ross losing, thus leaving Stroud top of the division.

This entry was posted on 31 October 2011 at 09:09 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

Bookmark with:

Leave a Reply


(Required, not published)

Ecotricity GoCrea8 - Specialist Hockey Camps, Courses and 1-2-1 Training Branding, Web, Video in Gloucestershire Photographer Gloucestershire