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Tight Top of Table Clash Ends All Square

After the exuberance of their 12-0 victory last week, Stroud knew full well they were in for a far tougher experience on Saturday.  Ross were lying 2nd and had an even better goal difference than Stroud.  It was clear from the opening salvos that the visitors meant business.  Both sides passed the ball around with good pace and gave little away.  Good movement from Tom Sharpe, given a forward’s role, opened the game up for Stroud.  Steve Shipp and Calum Norman, playing the pivotal roles in centre midfield, had little time on the ball compared to previous weeks.  This did not lead to stalemate, however, both sides launching attacks.  Matt Watts and Henry Bonham really stepped up to the plate.  Watts was quick to spot potential danger and Bonham was solid and controlled as ever.  A deliberate trip went unspotted and a petulant reaction left Stroud a man down for 10 minutes.  As the home side recouped, Ross piled forward and took the lead after a well-executed move.  Stroud were not out, just temporarily wounded.  A positive reaction ensued and they passed the ball around with more purpose.  Acting captain Shipp applied the pressure and drove into the D.  His shot was heading into the far corner but Sharpe made sure with a touch that ensured the keeper had no chance.  Stroud returned to full strength before half time but the score remained 1-1 at the break.

Rich Gealer came on to assist the defence, he and Rob Waite soon under pressure as Ross looked to regain the lead.  Gealer tracked brilliantly and did enough to halt the assault.  Rob Gleed opened up the right, Craig Wathen and Zac Lees now occupying the forward positions and working hard to offer an outlet.  Good control from Shipp and Norman gave Stroud several short corners but Gleed was not able to convert them.  As Stroud pressed forward they were hit on the counter and Ross appeared to have broken home hearts with a goal 10 minutes before the end.  Derek Pittaway came on for Stroud’s keeper – losing 3-1 or 2-1 was no different, so applying more pressure made sense.  Ross went down to 10 men and Stroud desperately pushed forward.  Great work earned them a short corner with few minutes remaining.  As the ball broke to the left, Norman struck a fearsome reverse stick shot which was deflected off a knee when goalbound.  Sharpe stepped up to the plate and drama began in earnest as he scuffed his penalty flick.  As Ross celebrated, the umpires ordered a retake as the keeper had made the basic schoolboy error of standing in front of the goal line !  Sharpe then roofed his second attempt to equalise in emphatic fashion.  Only a couple of minutes remained and Dave Cruickshank came back on in goal to close the hatches.  This was a tough test for Stroud but they came through relatively unscathed and are now 3 points clear of Cirencester A with Ross a further point adrift.

This entry was posted on 15 November 2011 at 13:37 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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