Stevenage M1 - 4 (Ben Oliver, John Mould 2, Gary Brown) Bishop Stortford M2 – 3
Stevenage were hoping to bounce back from their disappointing display a week ago and gain three invaluable points against mid table Bishops Stortford.
Stevenage however started the slower and found themselves 1-0 down early on as the pace of the Stortford attack caused problems for the home defence. The goal came from a quick counter attack and was finished off cooly by an away striker.
The home side looked shaky and on a few more occasions looked as though they would concede, luckily the Stortford strikers were firing wide of the target! This then gave Stevenage their chance, in a game that was becoming very open the home side broke through and Jon Oliver found brother Ben who calmly lobbed the advancing keeper to make it 1-1 with a remarkable finish and surely one of the goals of the season so far.
The lead didn’t last for long as almost from the restart the visitors broke again and this time made it count with a shot that gave Dingley no chance of stopping and making it 2-1. Just before half time young Stevie Hamid was sin-binned for stopping the ball illegally above head height, which seemed harsh on the youngster who was having an impressive game.
The last action of the half saw Wright deflect a goal bound effort from Stortford wide to keep the score 2-1.
In the second half Mould and Brown started to move further forward to support Oliver in the Stevenage attack which was giving the losing side more options and threats for the visitors to think about. Graves then won a hit just outside the Stortford 25 yard line. Hamilton smashed the ball in to Blackburn whose effort was saved and parried to skipper Mould who fired home to make it 2-2. A few moments later it was 3-2 to Stevenage when Strickland and Swinyard combined well to win a penalty corner which Gary Brown executed perfectly to give his side the lead.
Mould was causing problems all second half and was arguably the home sides best player, and it was he who went on a classic individual run before finishing to make it 4-2 even if with a little help from the Stortford keeper on its way in!
Stevenage pushed forward from the back and were now playing confident hockey, attacking with panache and style pinning the away team back in their half. It could have been more with chances falling to Holt and Brown, however the next goal went to Stortford. Again from another individual run from the Stortford winger and finished with a good strike which left Dingley with no chance of stopping and a home defence wondering how they didn’t oppose this attack. At 4-3 anything could have happened as both sides continued to attack and create late chances. Stevenage in the end held on with a very impressive second half performance after being dominated in the first half by their guests to take the three points.
Potters Bar L1 - 4 Stevenage L1 - 3 (Sasha Parker 2, Ellie Biggs)
Stevenage ladies lost a classic match on Saturday against Potters Bar which saw seven goals and five penalties two of which were saved by player of match Lisa Pickard in the Stevenage goal.
Stevenage started off the better side and dominated the first half with great performances from Harding, Seaton and Weston. Potters Bar went 1-0 up against the run of play before Stevenage scored three quick goals, two from Sascha Parker and one from Ellie Biggs to take a 3-1 lead. When the home side did attack in the opening half strong challenges were going in from Jo Biggs and Rachel Jeffrey. Caz Ayles hit a post as well before the excitement of the five penalties still to come!
The second half was a completely different affair with Potters Bar taking their chances and doing what Stevenage did in the first half. Stevenage let their guards down and allowed the home side back in to the match. Potters Bar managed to score three more goals to make it 4-3 with three being penalties which was harsh on Pickard who had saved two already. Hemmings and Harvey pushed forward trying to get that vital equaliser, however this was just not Ayles' side's day in a game that was definitely the story of two halfs!
L2 Won: Stevenage - 3 (Nicki Reynolds 2, Bex McGrellis) Hertford - 0 Stevenage Ladies 2’s let off some early fireworks, storming to a 3-0 win in a local derby against Hertford2’s. Burning frustrating memories of recent close losses, Stevenage treated their home crowd to a sparkling display. Nicki Reynolds lit the flame, finishing a text book short corner; injected by Bex McGrellis and set up by Jo Thorpe, with a bang. The Red’s strength lay in their distribution of the ball, releasing the ball wide to screaming sidewinder Emma Houlihan (Player of the Match) and opening up the midfield to allow Jo Thorpe to release a barrage of trademark rockets to forwards Reynolds, McGrellis and Hils Siddall who were hunting at the top of the D. The second goal came from a cunning switch to the left which outfoxed Hertford. Thorpe slipped a crafty pass to Debbi Church who floated the ball to a hungry McGrellis who punched the ball through the defence to secure a 2-0 lead at half time. Hertford weren’t prepared to fizzle out, coming back at Stevenage with a firestorm in the second half. The home side’s defence remained calm under pressure, Claire Swarbrick, Jan Gibson, Liz Gates and Andrea Weston damping down any spirited attacks and keeper Natalie Leach keeping the home fires burning with some lovely clears out to the midfield. Gates had a few giddy moments, proving unstoppable up through the centre and was unlucky not to pull off a couple of cheeky goals. Stevenage finished their display with a flourish – Reynolds received the ball on the baseline and blasted it past the keeper at an impossible angle, receiving some well deserved ‘oohs’ and ‘arrs’ from the appreciative home crowd.
L3 Lost: Broxbourne - 1 Stevenage - 0
L4 Lost: St Albans - 2 Stevenage - 0
L5 Lost: Hertford - 6 Stevenage - 0
M2 Won: Stevenage - 3 (Chris Watson, Peter Hamid, Andy Blaxill) St Albans - 1 Stevenage started strong and soon discovered their oppositions keeper had started his day with a big bowl of Weetabix, he was in top form. Stevenage took control of the game with some really intelligent play from the midfield, who soon started to own the pitch. With Chris Watson on the side line for the first 10 minutes he watched his replacement, Tom Wharton come close in his first appearance as a forward for some time. Time after time Stevenage attacked, defended from the front, re arranged in the midfield to counted St Albans style. Somehow and totally against the run of play at half time we were 1-0 down.
Knowing that the next goal would make the game we kicked into another gear. Fantastic defence and attack work from man of the match Chris Hall from the right back position freed up space for Mitch Snares who weaved run into the D resulted in a short corner. This was the 4th or 5th we had so far in the game and it constantly found a keeper in top form. This time a deflection landed near Chris Watson who finally put Stevenage on the score card.
Another attacked shortly followed which was started by the impressive Pete Hamid who was trying to run off a few spider webs from his astros, he won another short corner, again the keeper somehow saved a low hard shot from Andy Blaxill which on another day would have been his hat-trick. This time the ball fell to Pete Hamid who dispatched the ball cleanly past the defence and into the net for a Stevenage 2nd goal.
The third and final goal came near the end of the match from another short corner, this time Andy Blaxill did get rewarded for a game full of impressive defence and strong short corner routine. Again this was another top team performance from the reserves.
M3 Won: Luton - 2 Stevenage - 5 (Bailey Dingley, Gary Fung, Tufty Barlow, Roddy Vaneiij, Zeddy Wilcock)
M4 Won: Stevenage - 5 (Khalid Mehmood 3, Will Hammond, Ian Brown) St Albans Citizens - 1
M5 Won: Stevenage - 2 (Dave Wells 2) Shandy - 0 An impressive return to form for the 5s playing at home, having only just held on to 2nd place in the league for a second week due to goal difference. A spirited Stevenage started strongly, wreaking havoc amongst the visiting defence who are currently top of the league, and after several hopeful attempts from the forwards, Dave Wells finally scored from a short-corner. The second half continued in a similar vein, Stevenage having a goal disallowed before Wells bagged a second goal. Altogether a far more positive performance for Stevenage, though not without a few of hairy moments.
M6 Lost: Berkhamsted - 9 Stevenage - 0 We started with a bare 11 with Alex Day stepping forward to stand in goal and with Dave Hamid having to leave at Half time to Umpire another game due to a locked school delaying the start on the game by a least half an hour it was always going to be a tough game. We started well though holding them at bay for quite a time, but then 4 goals came quickly against us as they broke through our defence. We regrouped for the second half and pushed up having several attempts on their goal but without scoring and with 2 more injuries during the game bring us to 9 able players this left us a bit vulnerable at the back leading to a further 5 goals against us bring the score to 0-9 defeat. But over all a well fought game.