Crostyx L2 - 0 Stevenage L1 – 1 (Sacha Parker)
Stevenage ladies started back with a trip to Crostyx on Saturday, a team they'd beaten with ease at home, but they knew they'd be in for a tougher game this time round. Stevenage played their game and dominated play throughout, starting with some solid defending from Jo Howlett, Jenny Harding and Rachel Jeffrey, giving keeper Lisa Pickard little to do apart from a couple of key saves. Sophie Hoskins pushing on through the middle kept great pressure on the opposition and they found it difficult to get out of their own half. Crostyx managed to go into half time still nil a piece with their keeper having denied shots from both Ellie Biggs and Caz Ayles.
In the second half Stevenage came out very determined to win this game and put immense pressure on Crostyx from the word go, and as they did the home side got riled and an attempt on goal for them left Rachel Jeffrey with a third knee. Carly Seaton slipped into defence and commanded the Stevenage team who gave 100% throughout and should have been at least 3-0 up! Stevenage kept their cool and continued to play fantastic hockey with key runs from the wing players Jude Weston and Sacha Parker. In the last 5 mins Lucy Harvey skilfully won Stevenage a short corner which was calmly converted to a goal as Steph Oliver put a great ball across to Sacha Parker who effortlessly put the ball past the keeper. Crostyx had the last short corner of the game but the Stevenage defence very quickly put pressure on the striker who could not keep her cool leaving stevenage ladies walking away with a very well deserved three points.
Stevenage M1 – 11 (Dave Van Eijl 2, Gary Brown 3, Ben Oliver 3, Richard Hamilton, Jon Oliver, John Mould) Crostyx M2 – 0
Stevenage restarted their League campaign in 2012 with a 11-0 thrashing of Crostyx 2’s.
Stevenage were always in control and were given the perfect opportunity to make it 1-0 when they were awarded a penalty stroke in the first minute of the game. The Keeper unaware of the onslaught about to bestow him made a good save from Mould to keep it 0-0. Stevenage then scored three quick goals in the space of ten minutes, firstly Roddy Van Eijl with a strike from the top of the area before Gary Brown and Ben Oliver also hit the target. Crostyx never really threatened in the first half and three more goals before the break were added by Gary Brown who scored two to complete his hat-trick and a second for Ben Oliver made it 6-0.
In the second half Stevenage just continued to create chances and could have had ten within the first few minutes of the half, however the away keeper made some good stops.
It was soon seven when Van Eijl added his second with an impressive reverse strike which flew past the keeper. Then another penalty was awarded when Blackburn’s effort was illegally stopped on the line. This time Paul Graves stepped up and saw his effort saved by the keeper, keeping the score to seven. Soon it was eight when Richard Hamilton fired home after a great ball from Swinyard. Crostyx did win a few short corners and were unlucky not to get a consolation but for a great save from home keeper Dave Church.
Jon Oliver (right) and John Mould then added another quick two goals to hit double figures before late on Ben Oliver completed his hat-trick with an impressive and unstoppable strike which roofed the net to seal this fantastic win for Mould’s men and move them 5 points off top spot.
M2 Lost: Stevenage - 1 (Geoff Trew) Luton Town - 3
M3 Lost: Hertford - 6 Stevenage - 5 (Tufty Barlow 2, Will Hammond 2, Gary Fung) Mens 3's Grab defeat from the jaws of Victory.......Stevenage Mens 3s travelled to Hertford this week looking to cement their position at the top of the league. Clearly a bit rusty from an extended Mid season break, the away team took some time to settle, eventually taking the lead through a good move down the right which Rodger Barlow comfortably fired home from close range. Will Hammond finished well to put Stevenage 2 up and the league leaders were looking good. This wasn't to last however, as two quick goals from Hertford either side of half time brought the teams level.
Stevenage managed to re-gather themselves and showed some quality, Gary Fung going close with a few efforts before 3 quick goals from Barlow, Hammond, Fung restoring the away teams lead. The result looked inevitable with less than 10 minutes to go, however, Hertford came back with a quick goal, this gave them renewed confidence.
Credit should go to the home side on how they came back, they played with more urgency and desire then the visitors and over ran us to end up winning the game 6-5.
Some major improvements needed from a Stevenage side looking to push for the title this season. We still remain in top spot but following a West Herts win, the gap between the top 3 teams is down to 3 points.
M5 Won: Stevenage - 2 (Andy Davies PF, David Spicer) Winchmore Hill - 1 With one of the few games fortunate enough to go ahead this weekend due to the freezing conditions, could the 5s turn up the heat and keep the pressure on the top of the table? With a number of attacking players and the captain away it was always going to be tough against an experienced Winchmore side. Stevenage started brightly with the more attacking play, giving the opposition some pressured defensive moments. Eventually the deadlock was broken with a reverse stick pass in from Richard McGavigan to a well positioned David Spicer who coolly slotted home his shot to give Stevenage the lead. This seemed to spur Winchmore in to action with a few hair-raising moments at the other end, with some impressive shots being delivered. The Stevenage defence held strong and keeper Daniel Dove pulling off some spectacular reaction stops. A shuffle round of player positions meant both the Davies brother pushed forward on the wings delivering some teasing passes for the attack who were unfortunate not to finish.
The second half saw Winchmore push higher up the pitch and began to expose some of the gaps, after a few well crafted moves a short corner was awarded to Winchmore. It took an impressive strike to beat Dove in goal but it was deserved following the pressure that had been put on. Stevenage responded strongly, their attacking play making an end to end game with both defences doing their jobs well; centre backs Martin and Graham commanding the space. A clever build up by M. Elliot, D. Davies and R. McGavigan moved the ball around the oppositions D creating a shot that could only be stopped on the line by a Winchmore foot. PK awarded, Andy Davies stepped up to the plate and calmly slotted home a low shot to the bottom left corner (so I am told, I had to turn away!) to give Stevenage the lead again. All the 5s could do was then sit back and defend as Winchmore drove forward for the remainder of the match and were very unlucky on a few occasions not to equalise.
A good performance by the 5s who welcome back their attacking force next week against the league leaders
M6 Won (WON): Cheshunt - 0 Stevenage - 1 (Ganesh Sivasothy) YES YES YES it has finally happened the 6's have WON their first game of the season. An excellent performance by all involved. The team was aided this week by Khalid and Ian Brown who gave our youngsters good advise and instruction throughout the game and in response they played some great hockey with plenty of opportunities in the Cheshunt D. Our defence were very strong and worked extremely hard and with some excellent saves by our keeper kept Cheshunt from Scoring .
L5 Lost: Letchworth - 6 Stevenage - 0 despite a good performance from skipper Roz Davies