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Swansea Too Strong

Stroud Men's 1st XI made the long away trip to play Swansea University on Saturday, hoping to complete a double over the student side having beaten them 4-2 at home earlier in the season.

As expected, the game started at a high pace with Swansea dominating the early exchanges.  Stroud worked hard but found it hard to get the ball and Swansea put together some ominous attempts on goal.  The students made the most of their early domination and scored twice.  The Stroud defence struggled to get to grips with the pace and movement of the Swansea front line.

Stroud responded very positively to the two goal deficit and set about finding a way back into the game.  Man of the match Matt Williams set the tone with a higher press from the midfield and the whole side responded by upping their work rate and retaining possession.  As Stroud started to put the students under more pressure it became evident that they were vulnerable at the back.  Rich Fynn made some probing runs from midfield and he won a penalty flick when fouled on rounding the keeper.  Fynn duly dispatched the flick signalling the start of a fight back.

Stroud found more confidence and began to look like the better of the two sides as they worked the ball around well and stretched the Swansea defence.  Calum Norman won a short corner with a good bit of skill and Rob Fynn scored with a clean and clinical strike.  Stroud went close to taking the lead on the stroke of half time as another short corner chance went close.  

Stroud were buoyant at half time, full of belief that the could go on to take all the points.

The second half started well enough with Stroud defending well.  Keeper Cathie was called upon to make some good saves but Stroud also showed purpose going forward.  With 20 minutes remaining and the score at 2-2 the game was in the balance. 

As is often the way in hockey the balance tipped decisively in a few crucial minutes of play.

Stroud worked a brilliant opportunity to take the lead when Liam Tunney, Matt Pearce and Rich Fynn combined down the left, swiftly turning defence into attack.  Calum Norman was on hand to finish off the move with a superb diving reverse stick strike, beating the on rushing keeper.  Unfortunately for Stroud, he didn't beat the post and the ball cannoned back out to a grateful Swansea defender.  Swansea quickly shifted the ball back down the other end and inevitably scored.  Keeper Cathie was left stranded by an unfortunate deflection off defender Rob Fynn's foot.

The goal lifted Swansea and they scored a fourth just minutes later.  A one in a million chance converted with a diving, one handed, reverse stick strike from the byline. Some days you get the feeling that you just weren't meant to win!

Having worked so hard to get back into the game only to be undone by two chance goals was a tough one to swallow and it took its toll on Stroud's work rate and physical efforts in the closing stages.

Stroud looked for a way back into the game but were hit on the break twice more in the last 10 minutes.  Swansea closed out the game with two well worked goals.

In truth, Stroud came up short despite their fighting spirit and once again only really performed for half a game.  They will look to get back on track next week with a home fixture against Newent

This entry was posted on 22 January 2012 at 17:53 and is filed under Mens 1XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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