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Another Goal-Fest for M2

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, chalked up another high-scoring win on Saturday.  Fielding yet another combination of players, they began the match intent on control rather than out-and-out gung-ho attack.  Observers would have been impressed.  Returning Nick Hitchcroft provided the back diamond pivot for Ian Gill, Matt Watts and Ben Drury to feed from defence.  Tim Norman, having relinquished his forward role, saw plenty of the ball at right mid, with captain Rob Gleed mirroring this on the left.  Patient build-up and sensible passing left the home side flailing.  Hitchcroft’s ball into the D was deflected subtly by Tim Norman and watched into the corner by the entire defence.  Stroud were off the mark.  Craig Wathen and Chris Bargh worked hard to prise more out of the Cleevillians defence, whilst Tom Sharpe posed a threat at the head of midfield.  Another short corner was earned.  Gleed’s strike could only be parried right by the keeper and injector Norman capitalised to flick home his second.  Stroud were in control of the game.  Young Hamish Norman came on up front and held the ball up nicely for the midfield.  Sharpe went close to getting Stroud a third goal, but it was Cleevillians, totally against the run of play, who clawed a goal back.  Craig Breddy made a sharp stop from an initial shot, only for the rebound to be struck against the far post.  In a desperate bid to clear the ball, Gill could only see the ball roll tantalisingly inside the post.  This minor setback could have proved far more costly as Stroud were knocked back on their heels.  They could not find the net again, despite grabbing back the advantage.
The second half produced a better display in parts.  Andy Murray’s welcome return in front of defence was the key to controlling the play from the back.  Some superb possession hockey was played, from the assured Drury on the left, working nicely with Gleed, across to keen Watts who had a fine game at right back.  Stroud were not afraid to retain possession at the expense of the ball staying in their half.  Only when a rash speculative ball was intercepted did Cleevillians have a chance.  This they took to equalise.  A frustrated Stroud struck back almost immediately, Sharpe crashing the ball home.  The home side were gifted the ball again, another instance of patience running out, and they scored a third.  Stroud grasped the nettle once more and with Gleed, Sharpe and Bargh putting in some solid tackles, wrestled the advantage away from a resurgent Cleevillians.  A superb move from Watts to Hitchcroft, to Tim Norman to Wathen, back to Tim Norman and then a cross outside the far post for 14 year old Hamish Norman to score his first League goal in textbook fashion.  The next move began with Sharpe’s initial pass right to Tim Norman.  He drove into space and waited for the ever-vigilant Wathen’s run.  The pass was deftly deflected and, although not goal-bound, was met by the fast-moving Sharpe at the far post – another cracking goal.  The marauding visitors piled on the pressure, despite having to defend strongly as well.  The space they created was tremendous and the work-rate good – so good in fact that Drury found the net, audaciously chipping the ball over the falling keeper.  Minutes later, Bargh’s hard work was rewarded when he met a deflection at shoulder height to complete what looked on paper like a rout.  In fairness, Cleevillians worked hard and caused Stroud some moments of doubt, but controlled hockey from Stroud ultimately proved the winner.  Fine performances included Wathen and Hamish Norman up front, Hitchcroft’s quiet but assured midfield presence and the return of Murray to give a solid pivot at the back of midfield.  Good team play and a deserved win has confirmed Stroud’s second position in the table.

This entry was posted on 28 January 2013 at 09:00 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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