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Cracking Top of the Table Draw

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, had a busy weekend, hosting division leaders, Hereford, on Sunday.  This match was an altogether different affair to Saturday's.  Without doubt, Hereford are the best side Stroud have played this season and the contest was worthy of its top-of-the-table clash billing.  In the early flurries, both sides moved the ball quickly and accurately.  Stroud missed the opportunity to go one up when a penalty stroke went wide, but they were undeterred.  Some sensible midfield play and possession-keeping involving Nick Hitchcroft, Andy Murray and Steve Shipp gave Stroud a slight edge in the highly competitive atmosphere.  Craig Breddy was forced to make many telling saves, his performance deservedly rewarded with the man-of-the-match award for sublimety, or should that be sublimeness or subliminality (ask him).  Captain Rob Gleed felt Hereford’s opening goal was against the run of play, but in such a close encounter, that was a difficult call to make.  Nonetheless, Stroud continued to work really hard, Tom Sharpe, Dom Creech and Tim Norman sharing duties at the front.  Some great movement gave Hereford’s defence problems.  Several short corners were won, Gleed converting one to bring the game back all square.  In the ascendance, Stroud piled on the pressure, Tom Freer making several incisive runs down the right.  A side-line ball from Hitchcroft was well-supported and some interplay in the midfield gave Sharpe an opportunity down the left.  His cracking accurate cross was met by Norman to put the home side ahead.  Rob Waite came on at right wing and his running intensified the Stroud attack.  A long ball left to right corner found him and his cross was deflected dangerously by a defender’s stick.  The tension could be felt all around the pitch as the resultant Gleed short corner strike was rightly judged a few inches too high to count.  With minutes remaining, the visitors were awarded a short corner from which they equalised, setting up a nail-biting finale.  Ian Gill, Matt Watts and Ben Drury held firm at the back, releasing the midfield and forwards in a last ditch effort to keep Stroud’s title hopes alive.  The game was over, however, and Stroud’s valiant display earned them a draw when the win was required to topple the leaders.  Stroud should be very proud, nonetheless, for their part in a cracking game of hockey.

This entry was posted on 05 February 2013 at 12:37 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports. You can leave a response here.

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