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Second Heaven for M2

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, travelled to the other side of the Severn on Saturday, hoping to continue their fine League run.  With the sun low in the sky, the visitors were out of the blocks quicker.  Barely 2 minutes were on the clock before Stroud’s sharp passing gave Nick Hitchcroft the opening goal – a welcome calming influence on 3rd-placed Stroud.  Another two minutes elapsed and a shell-shocked Lydney gave away a penalty corner as Stroud piled on the pressure.  Captain Rob Gleed stepped up to convert this with aplomb, putting them 2-0 to the good.  The perfect start for Stroud … until Lydney struck back as the visitors relaxed momentarily.  Less than 15 minutes had gone and Craig Wathen, whose lively start with Ben Orme up front had promised plenty, pulled up with a hamstring pull, to play no further part for a long while.  No matter, With Steve Shipp and Hitchcroft looking formidable at centre midfield, Orme and Tim Norman were released to create havoc.  Ably supported by 15 year-old Ben Drury and Matt Watts on the flanks, strong work by Shipp and Gleed led to a loose ball being collected and hammered home by Norman to re-establish the visitors’ 2-goal advantage.
Lydney’s youthful side caused Stroud problems, however, and Craig Breddy was called into action on several occasions to make telling stops in goal.  He worked well with his defenders, particularly the rock-solid Ian Gill.  Andy Murray proved the lynch-pin in the middle, sitting in front of defence and becoming instrumental in kicking off Stroud’s attacking force.  His incisive run down the left led to his cracking cross for Norman to latch onto for his second was worth its weight in gold and the 3-goal cushion was very welcome.  Shipp then had to leave the pitch after a nasty hit on his foot.  Norman was given the central midfield marking role and Wathen limped on up front.  There then followed an unfortunate bounce in the middle of the pitch wrong-footed Watts and Murray, giving Lydney another goal and a faint glimmer of hope.  Stroud need not have worried as their tremendous work ethic continued.  Orme had several cracking strikes, agonisingly watching the ball go wide.  Great cover from defenders and midfielders alike helped Breddy in goal, before an absolute text-book attack down the right was made by Orme whose inch-perfect cross was put in by Hitchcroft arriving unmarked to give Stroud a famous 5-2 victory and cement 3rd place in the table, a mere one point adrift of leaders, Hereford A.
This was an excellent result for Stroud who showed their mettle, composure and fortitude in a difficult game.  Norman was man-of-the-match, although in truth everybody deserved an award of some description, including both umpires who did a fine job between them.

This entry was posted on 12 November 2012 at 09:52 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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