skip to content

10-Man Stroud M2 Take the Big Win

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, travelled to the Herefordshire town of Leominster on Saturday, knowing they had the bare eleven players.  One of those 11 players failed to materialise, however, leaving Stroud the unenviable task of facing an opposition with 5 substitutes.  Pragmatic to the last, the visitors were looking for the win and sorted their formation to suit the predicament.  Benny-no-mates Orme was hung out to dry as lone striker, while Dom Creech relinquished his chance to spearhead the attack, instead taking up residence at left back.  Despite the extra player, the home side found it difficult to make it count.  Stroud’s insistence that Leominster’s wide players not be given room to manoeuvre was a key ploy.  Their shape was held and possession when it came held in high esteem.  An early short corner awarded to Leominster found a defender’s foot and was deemed to stop a certain goal.  Last week’s man-of-the-match, Craig Breddy, set the tone for the rest of the match, going down to his right to save the resultant penalty flick.  Buoyed by this, Nick Hitchcroft, Tom Sharpe, Rob Gleed and Tim Norman relaxed into their midfield roles, passing the ball around in a controlled manner.  Sensibly, Stroud chose not to over-exert themselves with long runs, preferring the passing and support play option.  Orme’s strong running earned a short corner and captain Gleed smashed the ball into the left corner to give the visitors the lead.  Good marking kept the home side at bay and a strong move down the left flank left Gleed to cross the ball for unmarked right back Ben Drury to pick up and plant in Leominster’s goal for a 2-0 lead.  Leominster must have felt this unlikely, whereas Stroud knew they were out to win.  As the home side struggled to string attacks together, Matt Watts and Ian Gill made light work of defending at times, before Hitchcroft tangled with Leominster forward.  Whatever really happened, both players were sin-binned for the rest of the half.  Whether this hindered or helped Stroud’s cause was a matter of debate.  Nevertheless, Orme’s relentless exuberance earned him the man-of-the-match award.  At times he simply needed to hold up the ball, but at others he kept possession by going forward.  Either way, Sharpe was given time to follow up in support.  As the game progressed through its second period, 10-man Stroud actually appeared to have more space available.  Their insistence to build-up their attacks, rather than adopt route-one hockey, paid dividends.  Occasionally, Gill at the back was drawn into shelling the ball to safety, but sensible hockey frustrated Leominster.  Good defending kept them at bay, Breddy dictating the defenders’ positions to ensure nobody left a free man and making several sharp save to boot.  As Gleed channelled, Sharpe and Hitchcroft frustrated.  Norman and Drury marshalled and snuffed out Leominster’s left side of midfield, also giving a potent attacking force when the opportunity arose.  Stroud were on their game and up for the win.  Norman earned a free hit near the 25 and quickly took it to the attentive Orme, whose cross was controlled by Sharpe.  Having taken the ball neatly round the keeper, he flicked the ball home for 3-0.  With less than 15 minutes left on the clock, Stroud were able to relax a little – maybe not so much that you would have noticed, though.  The pressure had eased and everyone pushed up a little more as Leominster battled their own demons as well as the visiting team.  Creech asked to go forward and did so, to be rewarded with Stroud’s 4th goal from all of 12 inches away !  That was the icing on the cake.  Stroud came away with, perhaps, an unlikely 3 points, but they were without a shadow of doubt the better side and thoroughly deserved the win.

This entry was posted on 11 February 2013 at 09:20 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

Bookmark with:

Leave a Reply


(Required, not published)

Ecotricity GoCrea8 - Specialist Hockey Camps, Courses and 1-2-1 Training Branding, Web, Video in Gloucestershire Photographer Gloucestershire