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Six from Six as M2 Score 12

It was Top v Bottom on Saturday – always a potential problem.  Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, refused to bow to the tempter that is complacency, however, a stern warning before the game enough to settle them.  Steve Shipp and Calum Norman took early control of the midfield as they had done the previous week.  They were untroubled and were soon proving fine pivots.  Composed passing and good support were key factors and that included the defensive line of Rob Gleed, returning Henry Bonham and Matt Watts.  Pushing forward to help the attack was no problem for them and at no time were they put in danger.  Nick Hitchcroft provided the bridge between them and the midfield.  The first goal was passing personified – probably 6 in total, worked down the right.  Calum Norman threaded the ball through to Zac Lees on the back line and he drove along it before giving the perfect pass on the penalty spot for Tim Norman to fire the ball in off the far post.  If they weren’t relaxed beforehand, they were following that first goal.  Ben Orme switched up front and immediately found the net, having snatched the ball back from a dithering defender.  Rob Gleed’s sweetly struck short corner, aimed outside the right post, was deflected in neatly by Calum Norman.  Orme collected a second before Tim Norman’s goal-bound flick was blocked by a defender’s body.  The resultant penalty flick was taken By Tom Sharpe who saw the ball hit the bar and cruelly bounce the wrong side of the line.  Lees’ goal was as simple as they come following another superb passing move which left the opposition without a hope.  Sharpe’s efforts at left midfield were nearly rewarded but the home side’s crossbar came to the rescue once more.  Steve Shipp popped up with a goal before Gleed converted a short corner clinically for a 7-0 half time lead.

Nobody was clear what the score was at half time, to be perfectly honest.  It mattered not – Stroud cam out firing in the second half, looking to continue their passing game.  This they did to great effect.  Dave Cruickshank was called upon to make one save and that was from a shot going wide.  That’s statistic alone showed the superiority Stroud exuded.  They held their shape well and happily moved the ball back to keep possession and switched flanks.  Calum Norman finished off a flowing move down the left, before completing his hat trick with a fine individual run and sweet reverse stick strike which left the keeper stranded.  When on form, Gleed’s short corner striking is a joy to behold – he got his second of the game with a perfectly-struck shot.  Tim Norman poached his second after a shot was saved.  As the Cleevillians side tired, Stroud exploited the space even more.  Hitchcroft found Lees whose great running wide right beat the defence.  His inch-perfect bullet of a cross was expertly converted by Rohan Sopp to complete the rout.

Stroud thus managed to stave off a potential slip-up against the bottom-placed side and did so in style.  Lovely passing hockey was the name of the game, but everyone worked hard, too – a good pointer towards next week’s home game against erstwhile leaders, Ross.  Stroud really need to keep the pressure on and continue playing the superb team hockey exuded on Saturday.

This entry was posted on 07 November 2011 at 09:09 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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