ALL SQUARE IN THE BIG GAME AS WOOLLEY'S MEN GRAB FIRST POINT OF THE SEASON AT THE EXPENSE OF PROMOTION SEEKING M5
M5 Skipper Dave Wells says: "This season Stevenage 5s have beaten almost every team in their league, and conceded only 8 goals in 10 games. This week the 5s drew 1-1 against the 6s (scorer D.Wells ably assisted by R.McGavigan)." And M6 Skipper Dave Woolley says: "Well what can I say an excellent game after reforming the defence last week we seem to be defending a lot better and held the 5's out of the D more this time that and some excellent saves by our goalkeeper Pete Dixon. The 5's managed to break through our defence half way through the first half and scored. But the 6's seem to be getting it together a bit now and with the help of some quality mid field players which helped with our younger players being able to recieve and move the ball on more. We kept them at bay in the second half with much the same play and with a late short corner put one past the 5's bringing the score to 1-1 the best result for the 6's to date well done all." M5 stay in second spot in the division on goal difference: M6 stay firmly rooted to the bottom.
Our pictures show M6 hero Pete out of his cage to thwart another M5 raid from Richard and Dave, and Martin Nevill poised for a powerful shot on goal as M5 pressed to extend their lead before Freddie's last minute penalty corner strike.
WINS FOR UNDER 12s
Blueharts II - 1 Stevanage - 4 (Rebecca 2, Mitchell 2)
On a very cold and windy morning the team turned up at Blueharts with just the bare 7 players. After a fast start Blueharts counter attacked and opened the scoring on their first attempt, however Stevenage soon had a counter of their own with Rebecca scoring. The rest of the half was end to end with some good defending especially Lilly, Anand and Marcus making some excellent saves and clearances. In the second half Stevenage continued to defend superbly with Marcus dominating the D and they used the width a little bit more with Mitchell pushed up and he twice got the ball and was able to attack and score. Stevenage's final goal came after Evelyn passed the ball to Mitchell who's shot hit the post and Rebecca cleared it up.
Blueharts III - 0 Stevenage - 7 (Geoff lost track!)
Due to an excess of Juniors for Blueharts they have a 3rd team not entered in the league. Brimming with confidence at wining the first game despite being tired Stevenage dominated the game, where both teams played with 7 outfield players and no goalkeeper.
IN OTHER GAMES
East London M1 – 3 Stevenage M1 – 4 (Gary Brown 2, Danny Blackburn, Ben Oliver)
Stevenage travelled to East London on Saturday hoping to continue their rise up the table towards the automatic promotion spots.
John Mould took a strong side to London and from the start the tactics were obvious, put their opponents under pressure and attack. Stevenage had some early chances but it was the home side who took the lead. A quick counter attack resulted in a cruel deflection off Stevie Hamid which wrong footed keeper Dave Church giving him no chance to prevent the ball flying in the net.
Mould then broke down the right wing after a great ball from Jon Oliver, his square pass found Gary Brown who fired home from close range to equalise. Both sides then had their chances to take the lead Church made some good saves and at the other end Strickland saw an effort well saved.
East London took the lead on half time which seemed harsh on the visitors who in the build up to the goal looked to have had Graves fouled but to the astonishment of the Stevenage players went unnoticed by the officials.
In the second half Stevenage flew out of the blocks with Hamilton having the first real chance but his effort hit the post. Hamilton then won a penalty corner which Gary Brown fired home to equalise.
It wasn’t long before Stevenage took the lead when a mix up in the East London defence allowed Ben Oliver to intercept and cross for Danny Blackburn to fire home and give the visitors a well worked and deserved lead. Paul Graves then almost set Blackburn up with another but this time the keeper denied him. Graham Swinyard then stormed up the field after a great interception, he put a great through ball to Mould but his effort then hit the side netting. The home side then had a string of penalty corners which somehow Stevenage managed to keep out! Matt Oliver then set brother Ben on his way, he ran half the length of the pitch before firing home to give Stevenage a crucial two goal lead. The last few minutes of the game produced a barrage of attacks from the home side and eventually they got their third goal which resulted in a scrappy and nervy last few minutes as Stevenage held on for another crucial three points in the battle for promotion.
M2 Won: Bedford - 0 Stevenage - 2 (Andy Gardner 2)
This week was a cracker for the neutral. The four teams holding the top four positions in the league faced off. Stevenage 2s played Bedford, a team that has struggled on some weeks but has absolutely dominated on others so Stevenage approached the game with apprehension but a clear goal in mind.
The tactics were immediately thrown out the window as regular striker Oliver Holt pulled a hamstring and limped off after less than 10 minutes, leaving the only sub, Tom Wharton, to come on and play the rest of the game, which was more time on the pitch in one game that the injury ridden captain had mustered all season.
The first half ended 0-0 with Stevenage feeling a drop lucky not to be behind and Bedford smelling a chance to impose a home victory. However that was not to be. The second half was totally different, with Bedford’s only chances coming from short corners, but due to some exquisite defence from Chris Perry keeper Zamo was rarely used and stood ground well to give another clean sheet.
The Stevenage first goal came from a superbly worked short corner where Andy Blaxill draw the entire defence as he took aim only to slip the ball left to the awaiting Andrew Gardner who scored Olly Holt style top left with a drag flick.
The second goal came courtesy of a penalty flick that was awarded after a goal bound shot from Chris Watson was prevented from going in by a defenders leg. Andrew Gardner took aim and produced one of the worse flicks to ever go – however it went it so it’s a good flick! Fortunately for him and Stevenage the goal keeper had dived to the left leaving the centre of the goal open so when the ball gingerly floated through the air centre of the goal at stomach level the keeper was nowhere. The quote of the day was heard by all as Andrew Gardner took ironic applause for his efforts: “that was lucky”. The second goal was lucky but Stevenage continued to dominate that half and did deserve the win and the clean sheet.
M3 Won: Stevenage - 4 (Bailey Dingley 2, Niall Anderson, Steve Scholes) West Herts - 3, M3 going 6 points clear of their opponents in second place just one point behind division leaders M2.
M4 Lost: Stevenage - 2 (Ian Brown, Harp Mann) Luton - 5
M5 Drew with M6: M5 - 1 (Dave Wells) M6 - 1 (Freddie Stirling Brown)
L1 Won: Stevenage - 3 Welwyn Garden City - 2, coming back from two goals down at half-time against the bottom club
L2 Lost: Luton - 4 Stevenage - 1 (Nicki Reynolds)
L2 Drew: Broxbourne - 2 Stevenage - 2 (Theresa Luciani)
L4 Lost: Stevenage - 1 (Vicky Marquis) Luton - 3
L5 Lost: Stevenage - 0 Milton Keynes - 1