Ford M1 - 5 Stevenage M1 - 0
Stevenage travelled to second placed Ford in Dagenham on Saturday with six regular players missing.
The visitors were up against it from the word go as after only one minute Ford won a penalty stroke which gave them a 1-0 lead. It was soon two when a cruelly deflected effort went in off a Stevenage defender. It was 3-0 before the break when again Ford won a penalty stroke and the flick gave Dingley no chance in the Stevenage goal.
In the second half Stevenage got more in to the game with Skipper Mould pushing his team forward from the back and Jon Oliver and Gary Brown trying to create openings for the forward line of Zac Shaw and Chris Strickland. Stevenage hit the post when Blackburn's shot fired off it before Shaw crossed for Strickland who couldn't connect.
Ford then broke and after a fine piece of skill made it 4-0 with a perfectly executed finish.
Wharton and Blaxill were kept busy all afternoon at the back and Mould cleared off the goal line. It was soon 5-0 when again a skillful move down the Ford left ended up with their centre forward to score his third of the afternoon again with a stylish finish!
Stevenage pushed forward and probably deserved a goal with Blackburn and Brown coming close near the end however it wasnt to be their day and they will be hoping to return to winning ways next week at home to Saffron Walden.
Winchmore Hill & Enfield M2 - 3 Stevenage M2 - 5
The men's 2nd XI travelled to Winchmore Hill & Enfield with an under strength side due to call ups, suspensions, holidays and injuries.
Starting the game with just 10 men (Terry Kingston was uncharacteristically late due to a mix up in vehicles), Stevenage had to set the field in a defensive formation, pulling Holt back into the inside position and leaving Dingley and Farnan as the two forwards.
Despite this, some great build up play and fast work from Holt, Farnan and Dingley, Holt had made it 1-0 in the first two minutes, with Dingley setting him up. Two minutes more and Farnan recieved a top class set up from Dingley to fire it home for 2-0. Another three minutes pass and Holt again receives a pass from Dingley to finish clinically, 3-0. Many of the WH&E players were questioning how a team of 10 players could be beating them so easily. This wore off as the team in white started pressing and the extra man told. On several occassions one forward or another was left, meaning by 30 minutes into the game they had made it 3-3. 34 minutes into the game and Kingston arrived.
An inspiring team talk by the skipper meant Stevenage again had belief in themselves. It showed in the determination of Andy Gardner, Geoff Trew, Michiel van Rooijen, Chris Perry, Dave Church, Jack Neville and Callum Matthews to not let the opposition approach the goal, whilst Holt and Farnan harried their defence with terrifying pace and stick work.
Farnan scored two more goals to gain his hat-trick and seal his place as man-of-the-match. The 2s came away satisfied that on the day they can turn on the style, with a lot of the team still to come back. Team selection will be pleasantly difficult.
Stevenage M3 - 4 Luton Vagrants M1 - 3
Another hard battle against a physical Luton side saw Stevenage take the points after trailing twice, the first half ended 2 a piece with the Stevenage goals coming from Gary Fung and Ian Wilcox.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Luton again taking the lead. Stevenage’s 3rd came from a short corner that was expertly despatched on the half volley by Gary Fung. Luton ill discipline lead to a red car before Ian Wilcox scored the goal of the game, A pin point pass from Nick Crocker found the on rushing Ian Wilcox who cracked the ball into the far corner. Stevenage held out the last 5 minutes without any real scares to continue their return to form.
Stevenage M4 - 2 Potters Bar M2 - 3
Potters Bar started off the stronger and were 2 nil up inside 15 minutes. Stevenage battled back and were rewarded when Ryall Swartz converted a penalty flick after Simon Russell goal bound shot was stopped by a defenders foot. Both teams continued to press but Potters Bar were thwarted by a string of fine saves from Digger Graves make his debut in goal. The second half started with bar extending their lead. the game opened up and both sides had chances. Bar had a goal disallowed for use of a foot. But it was Stevenage who pulled a goal back when Will Hammond found space at the top of the D and gave the keeper no chance with a powerful shot. But Stevenage couldn't find an equaliser and Bar finished the game the stronger.
West Herts M6 - 8 Stevenage M5 - 1
A Stevenage bare eleven faced a strong West Herts side in the driving rain of Watford, missing some key defensive players. Stevenage battled hard for the first 30 minutes, and the 0-3 score at half time was not really representative of the opportunities being worked by the away side. The second half saw a positive start, with a goal from Michael Tyler providing a glimmer of hope for Stevenage. However, the lack of subs and appalling weather took its toll, and Stevenage were unable to stop West Herts driving through the defence with a series of goals in quick succession.
A disappointing result for Stevenage, being their worst loss so far, although they will surely not be as frustrated as some of West Herts players must be only being picked for their 6th XI…
Stevenage M6 - 0 Cheshunt M3 - 4
A lively visiting side tested the home team in the first half without finding a way through, thanks in part to Damien Nowopiski in goal, but a late start to the game meant the keeper had to leave at half-time. Pressure continued in the second half but without a stopper there was no way it was going to be withstood.
Stevenage L1 - 6 Royston L1 - 1 (Friendly)
Good boost of confidence this week for Stevenage with a great start and lots of pressure on Royston. Carly Seaton got the first two, the second being stopped on the line with a foot and she managed to put the flick away. With poor defending Royston got one back. Kate Murray and Debbi Church got two before half time.
Stevenage carried on putting on the pressure, Royston stayed strong, Lisa Pickard kept them out with some outstanding saves. Lucy Harvey showed her skills but the Royston keeper kept her great shots out. Andrea Clark and Debbi Church put another two goals away.
Shefford & Sandy L3 - 2 Stevenage L2 - 2
Yet again Stevenage had the better of a game without finding a way to win it, and now find themselves in danger of relegation. A Heather Hemmings goal gave the visitors a well earned halftime lead but in the first minute of the second half Shefford equalised when a large gap appeared in the visiting defence. Hemmings restored the lead but the home side equalised and a frustrated Stevenage could not find a winner.
The ladies 2’s have found their game again and had a much better performance this week. Good play made throughout the field with everyone giving 100%. Sadly, a stick could not be found on the end of the several Thorpedoes that found their way into the “D” and often hitting the backboard. If points were given to the better team Stevenage would certainly have gained them but a result of 2-2 will have to do.
Stevenage L3 - 4 Leighton Buzzard L3 - 3
After spending 20 minutes of the entire team attempting to de-puddle large areas of the JHN pitch with 2 kitchen brooms, a dust pan and lots of hockey sticks, the pitch was now playable and the ladies 3’s were officially warmed up. The game against higher placed Leighton Buzzard was generally an even one for most of the game, the home side playing well as a team. There were some excellent saves and water/mud slides from Keeper Vicky, and Andrea and well worked goals from Ros, Becky and Daisy, it was 3-3 then in the last few seconds the home team were awarded a short corner on the final whistle, after an awesome strike from Reynolds which caught the keepers pads and deflected, Emma Houlihan found the backboard, the final whistle went with 4 points for Stevenage. This was also a very welcome return game for new mum Caz, nice to have you back!
Tring L3 - 3 Stevenage L4 - 2
Ladies 4’s visited top table Tring, Stevenage ladies played superbly against a youthful Tring side with lots of subs. A very even game all round, our ladies playing some great hockey, with goals from Becky O’Connor and Jo “Norfy” – approaching the final whistle it looked to be a 2-2 draw but then a goal from Tring in the last 20 seconds of the game gave them the points - a very unlucky (but still very decent) result. We look forward to welcoming Tring for the home game this weekend coming…..
Broxbourne L6 - 7 Stevenage L5 - 0
L5 continued what seems to be an inevitable march to conceding 100 goals in the season despite being able to field only 8 players this week.