SATURDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2010

Stevenage M1 - 5   Ford M1 - 8
 
Stevenage entertained Dagenham Ford on saturday in what turned out to be a very eventful encounter.
Both sides started very openly and both strung together a series of attacks.  Stevenage had a couple of good chances before Ford got a goal on the counter. The visitors had a skillful playmaker in the middle of the park who was causing problems for the home midfield his pin point pass split the home defence and Ford made in 2-0 when the centre forward slotted home. Stevenage then piled on their own pressure and were back in the game when Ben Oliver crossed for Danny Blackburn to fire home. A minute later Ford added a third again after a harsh decision from the umpire against the home side.
In such a open game there was sure to be more chances and again the rub of the greeen fell to the visitors, Stevenage gave away a penalty corner from which the away side scored to make it 4-1.
Blackburn then won a penalty corner for Stevenage, then form the resulting strike Andy Blaxill made it 4-2 at the break.
In the second half Stevenage played some good attacking hockey and after a great ball from Swinyard, Gary Brown made it 4-3 with a powerful strike. Tim Wright then cleared off the Stevenage goal line before Dingley made a pin point save from the Ford forward.
John Mould then went on a mazy run and crossed for Ben Oliver to hit just wide. Ford then scored again after a good passing move resulted in a clinical finish to make it 5-3.
Then the game took a turn for the worse for the home side when first of all Keeper Tim Dingley was sent off for a reckless challenge at the edge of his area. With no keeper skipper Mould went on the goal line for the resulting penalty flick. He had no chance of saving it as the Ford taker calmly slotted home to make it 6-3.
Without a keeper it was always going to be hard for Stevenage to keep the scoreline down but to their credit they continued to push forward and after winning a penalty corner skipper Mould stepped up and fired a drag flick in to the roof of the net to bring the score back to 6-4. Jon Oliver combined well with brother Matt who then crossed for Brown to score his second and make it 6-5. Ford then scored from another penalty corner and the home side then saw Andy Blaxill sent off for dissent as he argued the decision.
Stevenage also had two goals disallowed which would have definately changed the game in their favour. Ford then had one of their players sent off and a few green cards were shown to players on both sides as challenges were starting to fly in.
Ford scored their eighth late on to make it 8-5 but Stevenage did extremely well to keep the score down and continue to play their at times impressive attacking hockey. 

Stevenage M2 - 4  Winchmore Hill & Enfield M2 - 0

Your humble reporter is running out of superlatives to describe just how wonderful the Men's 2nd XI played against a fairly strong Winchmore Hill & Enfield.  At points it seemed effortless, the crisp quality of passing, the swiftness of moving, the aggression in the tackle.  It seems that everything that coach Amanda is teaching is being listened to and adapted to the uncompromising style of play.  The 2s don't just play - they entertain.  It was through such enjoyment of the art of hockey that Andy Gardner got his first goal, grabbing the chance left by the WH&E 'keeper when it rebounded off his pads on a James Hamilton struck short corner.  Gardner had tasted victory and he wanted more.  That's exactly what he got a little time later.  The left wing back pounced on a poorly cleared ball from the visitor's defence and took it around two people, before having a 1-2 with the ever present Mitch Snares, before firing it into the back post.  An extatic team took a 2-0 lead into the break, ever mindful that the opposition could slot one of their chances home at any point.

Some careful work in the 2nd half saw some great chances fall to Olly Holt, Mitch Snares and Dan Farnan, but it was Ryall Swartz who showed them how to finish when he calmly recived a ball from the right and lashed a wicked undercut over the advancing 'keeper, for the ball to cross the line just under the crossbar.  It seemed nothing could take away Stevenage's day.  All that remained was for man of the match Gardner to step up for another short corner and dispatch it for a well earned hattrick.  This takes nothing away from a defensive display from Dave Church in the home goal that meant the visitors got nothing.

Luton Vagrants M1 - 2   Stevenage M3 - 1

Another frustrating performance ..
The team had a more familiar shape with Seb back as sweeper and Nico returning to the middle, restoring to aerials. The pattern of the game was we had a lot of possession but couldn’t convert our chances..and they played counter attacking hockey trying to hit us on the break.. We went in at half tine 1-0 down, Tufty came on for the second half and we looked a more formidable side, again creating lots of opportunities but not turning them into goals . Chris Strickland managed to pull a goal back to level the scores .. we pushed on looking for the winner only to be hit with a sucker punch from them with the last hit of the game

Potters Bar M2 - 4   Stevenage M4 - 1

A very young 4s side came up against a strong Potters Bar side. After conceding a soft early goal stevenage were always under pressure. Stevenage's midfield with an average age of 16 struggled to cope with bars veteran side. Bar scored two more in the first half before a trade mark Ian Brown finish gave the 4s some hope. The second half started with stevenage having a goal disallowed after a umpires conference. Bar settle the game with two more goal mid way through the second half.

Stevenage M5 - 2   Bedford Vets - 4

Saturday's home game against Bedford Vets was always going to be about damage limitation. Currently the scourge of division 9SW, the Vets are unbeaten this season, with a goal difference of +24 in just 4 league games, and as their average age of 57 suggests, have several hundred years of high level hockey experience between them. However, a sprightly if less experienced Stevenage side weren't going to let this become the thrashing that other teams have experienced at their hands this season. Despite an early wobble in their otherwise solid defence, letting in a Vets shot after around 7 minutes, Stevenage had some excellent spells in the first half, a series of textbook passes culminating in a successful shot over the keeper to gift a long awaited and usually frustrated season's first goal for Captain Dave Wells, before the Vets managed to pull one back shortly before half-time. In the second half, Stevenage launched another series of fast moving attacks, making use of the home-sides' relatively young legs, and after several agonising attempts between the forwards, recent addition to the team Sam Hobbs drove in an equaliser. Stevenage managed to hold the score at 2-2 for a significant chunk of the second half, but were frustrated by the Bedford Goalkeeper on a number of occasions before the Vets managed to score two more goals to seal a victory.
Despite the loss, this was a very positive game for Stevenage 5s, who should congratulate themselves on becoming the first team to score against Bedford Vets this season, and will no doubt be looking forward to playing some of the teams from the lower regions of the league over the next few weeks. 

Bedford Town M5 - 5   Stevenage M6 - 0

No excuses this week. We fort hard against a well oiled teenage team who were very disciplined and fit we conceded 2 goals in the first half and three in the second Bedford constantly push hard against us and we managed to  defend very well we also made some good attacks but they were not successful ,man of the match again was probably Pete Dixon our goal keeper for the day who had to make plenty of excellent saves and was congratulated by some of the opposition for his excellent work.

Potters Bar L1 - 4   Stevenage L1 - 1

Stevenage started brightly against 3rd in the League Potters Bar. A great individual goal from Lucy Harvey put the visitors ahead 5 minutes into the game. Towards the end of the first half some strong defending meant Stevenage went in 1-0 up at the break.
 
Early in the 2nd half, Potters Bar scored a lucky goal but Stevenage responded well until Player of the Match Carly Seaton took a ball in the head. Following a substantial stoppage which saw Seaton leave the pitch in an ambulance after receiving treatment for her massive gash. Stevenage were not the same team and Potters Bar ran out 4-1 winners.

Stevenage L2 - 0  Vauxhall Chiltern L1 - 1

In a tight game with defences always on top the home side lost out narrowly to undefeated visitors who were just too good for them.

Stevenage L3 - 2   Harpenden L3 - 3

Stevenage snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by throwing away a two goal lead given to them by goals from Sam Franklyn and Annabelle Reilly by conceding three goals in five minutes near the end.

Saffron Walden L4 - 9  Stevenage L4 - 0

A thoroughly disappointing visit, but to a club that are having a very good season and a team that averaged 10 goals a game in winning their other four matches this season.

Hertford L4 - 7  Stevenage L5 - 1

Hayley Binge scored and although the Fives run of defeats continued spirits do remain high.

SUNDAY MATCH

Stevenage Vice Presidents - 3    Invitation XI  - 3 
 
Stevenage Vice Presidents Day supporters had a treat on Sunday with a fine Mixed Match on grass in front of the Clubhouse at Ditchmore Lane. The VP's team included Guiness Book Of Records holder Anne Graves and past 1st XI captains Ian Wilcock, Danny Blackburn and Alec Tompson.
The Invitation XI took the lead after only two minutes when current M1 skipper John Mould fired home after a good run. It was soon two when ladies Club Captain Nicky Reynolds slotted home from close range after good work by Debbi Church and Jon Oliver.
The VP's pulled one back from a penalty corner when Tompson slipped the ball to Wilcock whose precision hit found the back of the net.
In the second half the Invitation Team looked certain to score when Nick Russell pushed the ball past Jenny Harding in the VP's goal only to see Anne Graves clear the ball off the line.
Dave Church in the Invitation XI goal made a good save from Kate Chapman before Roger Barlow crossed for Mould to make it 3-1 to the guests. Blackburn then won a penalty corner for the VP's from which Kevin Wharton scored a trade mark goal to reduce the arrears.
The VP's pushed forward for the equaliser and got it when Clare Swarbrick found Chris Strickland who weaved in to the area before clamly slotting the ball home to tie up the match.
Both sides then had chances to win it with Jude Weston and Claudia Strickland going close for the VP's, and Hamilton and Tom Wharton for the Invitation team, for whom Seb Rose was closest with the last hit of the game, after great run from Becks Graves, only for Martin Swarbrick to make a timely intervention.

SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2010

Saffron Walden M1 - 2  Stevenage M1 - 2

Stevenage were in need of points as they headed for Saffron Walden on Saturday.
Stevenage started the better side and pushed forward at every opportunity with chances coming thick and fast.  Early on John Mould broke through the home defence and saw a good effort well stopped by the Walden stopper. Then it was Jon Olivers turn after a great through ball from Swinyard, Oliver's shot hit the woodwork.  Saffron Walden then started to work the ball up the field and won several penalty corners which were defended well by the visitors. The game was very open with both sides showing their attacking tactics, Brown found Danny Blackburn who outpaced the Walden sweeper only to see his effort hit straight at the keeper. A few moments later he made amends when after a great ball from Blaxill split the home defence Blackburn reverse hit the ball past the oncoming keeper to give the away team a well deserved lead. Matt Oliver was then harshly booked before the break.
At the start of the second half Stevenage went to sleep and Saffron Walden equalised. It got worse when Jon Oliver got sin-binned and Stevenage were down to ten men. John Mould managed to regroup his team and after a great run from the skipper and a fine pass Gary Brown made it 2-1 to the visiting side with a typical slap of the ball which gave the keeper no chance.
Steve Scholes was causing the Walden defenders problems with his constant aerial balls which the Stevenage forwards were running on to, however the home keeper was in fine form and keeping out everything hit at him.
Saffron Walden then got the rub of the green when what looked to be a obvious foul for Stevenage was waved on and they equalised to the fury of the away side.
Blackburn then was booked for dissent before he had a good effort brilliantly saved off the line. Schwartz then went on a run and crossed for Oliver to hit just wide before the chance of the match when Swinyard set Mould on his way again to cross for Brown whose effort somehow went over the bar. Stevenage deserved to take all three points but nearly ended up with none when in the last minute Tim Wright cleared off the goal line and Dingley saved the rebounded shot. The final whistle went at 2-2 with Stevenage wondering why they didnt take all three.

St Albans M5 - 3  Stevenage M2 - 0

Far from telling the story, the 3-0 scoreline in favour of the boys in orange flattered an opposition who should have beenbehind heavily at half time.  Stevenage turned up in all but finishing on a cold autumnal morning, but nobody in white could hit the back of the net, despite several hands worth of chances.  As the frustration grew at not finding a goal, the defence crept up the pitch, which let an easy break-away by St Albans nick a goal.  Then two.  Then three.  The knife edge on which Stevenage play cut them this day.  But the flair, innovation and tenacity shown can only bode extremely well for the future.

Stevenage M3 - 2  Berkhamsted M2 - 0

Bottom of the table Berkhamsted proved themselves competitive and difficult to break down, but in the end the home side ran out comfortable winners thanks to goals from Harp Mann and Nial Anderson.

Stevenage M4 - 3   West Herts M5 - 1

A cross from Ian Brown was converted by Harry Wheeler to give the home side a half time advantage, but the second placed visitors equalised after the break only for Ali Boyd to put Stevenage ahead again. A super solo run and great finish gave young Wheeler his second and rounded off a fine victory.

Berkhamsted M4 - 4   Stevenage M5 - 1

Stevenage Mens 5s extended their recent disappointing series of losses with yet another defeat against Berkhamstead 4s. Only fielding 10 men, Stevenage played better in the first half, holding them at 1-1 after an equalising goal from Dave Wells. After the break, fatigue was clearly showing across the Stevenage side, whilst Berkhamstead made use of their 3 subs to keep their legs fresh and score a further 3 goals. Frustrating for Stevenage, as an 11th man would have been enough to make the difference, but still demonstrating some very positive spells that will surely lead to some wins before Christmas...

Stevenage M6 - 3   Potters Bar M3 - 5

Going 3 - 0 down in 15 minutes (4 - 1 at half time after a tap in goal from Kevin Wharton's pin-point cross for 13 year old debutant Joe Farnan) M6 battled back to 4 - 3 after goals from Zach Shaw - a superb solo effort - and Martin Binge, but fell to a very scrappy goal that gave the Bar the victory their play deserved and the home side the score line their spirit and effort merited. 

Stevenage L1 - 2   Wapping L2 - 5

Stevenage started strong and had some great chances a ball was stopped with a foot on the line from Kate Murrays strike Stevenage were awarded a penalty flick Lucy Harvey converted. Wapping came back strong and the play was end to end Stevenage couldn’t hold them out half time score 1-1.

Stevenage become disorganised by Wappings breaking runs and conceded many short corners Wapping scored two goals from short corners with a great strike from the top of the ‘D’. Wapping scored twice more with Stevenage heads going down. Andrea Clarke made some good runs down the line with Lucy Harvey, Stevenage pulled one more goal back with a strike from Rachel Jeffrey coming off the keepers Pads and Debbie Church following it up with a well deserved Goal. Final score 2-5.
  

Bishops Stortford L3 - 2   Stevenage L2 - 2

An early injury to Bex Church reduced the visitors to 10 players in the first half but a hard working performance earned them a good point after twice taking the lead through Annabelle Reilly and Alfie Gunther. Sam Franklyn was lively throughout and narrowly missed giving Stevenage all three points after going past the home keeper near the end.

Saffron Walden L3 - 10    Stevenage L3 - 0

Walden continued to show what a strong club they are this season by sending out the runaway division leaders to demolish their visitors.

Stevenage L4 - 1   Blueharts L3 - 1

Nikki Davies put the home side ahead but in the end it was good defensive play that earned a point from local rivals Blueharts.

Stevenage L5 - 0     Potters Bar L3 - 3

This win took the visitors to the top of the table - and left Stevenage at the bottom.
 

SATURDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2010

Stevenage M1 - 4   Blueharts M2 - 0
 
Stevenage were relishing derby day in need of three points against fellow strugglers Blueharts on Saturday.  Both sides were cautious in the early periods of the game not wanting to give any advantage to their oponents.  The first real chance came when John Mould broke down the right for the home side and his cross was met by Blackburn who hit just wide.  Blueharts then made Dingley work in the home goal when he put a good effort round his post. Ben Oliver then had a good chance saved before Brown lost his cool with a Harts defender in the opponents penalty area. Tim Wright and Matt Oliver were defending well at the back with Blaxill and Scholes as Harts looked for that vital opening.
Stevenage were pushing forward towards the end of the first half but were wasting chances and possession in silly areas of the field. Something needed to change at the break after the midfield were losing their discipline.  Mould rallied his troops and the second half started at frantic pace with the home side piling on further pressure but with more discipline than in the first half with Swinyard, Mould and Jon Oliver covering the forward advances of Brown who played higher up the pitch.  After only five minutes Stevenage won a short corner which Blaxill fired towards the goal only to see Browns sweep cleared illegally off the goal line resulting in a penalty for Stevenage. Danny Blackburn stepped up only to see not the best penalty he had ever taken saved by Bates in the Harts goal.  This didn't effect the home side as only a minute later Ben Oliver was sent on his way after great wing play from Mould and Matt Oliver. Ben Oliver then finished in style with a ferocious strike which gave the visiting keeper no chance. At 1-0 it was important Moulds men carried on with their persistent bombardment in thier opponents half as they did, and it paid off when Scholes slipped the ball through to Brown who slapped the ball home to make it 2-0 in this crucial six pointer.  Blueharts did create their own chances but when needed Dingley kept them at bay as did Tim Wright with some good solid challenges.
Jon Oliver then flew down the right wing before crossing for brother Ben to make it 3-0 with a good strike which pounded the net.  It would have been more if Bates hadn't made some good saves including a great double stop from Blackburn who then screamed the ball on to the post a few minutes later.
A great ball from Swinyard then found birthday boy Tim Wright who drove forward before releasing Brown who when at the top of the penalty area launched home number four for the home side with a powerful fnish.
It was a much improved second half performance by Stevenage who played with discipline and structure compared to their first half performance.  Late on Ben Oliver just missed out on his hat-trick after his effort went wide but the final whistle went at 4-0 and gave Moulds men a well deserved and needed three points and the Derby Day spoils.

Stevenage M2 - 7   Bishops Stortford M5 - 2

On a day of ill omens (a centre back unable to make the game, a heavy fog descending on the pitch, a broken ball within the first 5 minutes and a goal behind after 10) the 2nd XI rode more than their luck.  Skill, endurance, flair and a lot of tenacity meant the whole team could hold their heads high in the club that night.  Chris Watson led the way with a first half hat-trick to seal his man-of-the-match award.  This was marred only slightly by the visitors scoring first.  The only thing that could be said at half time was "Carry on chaps.  There's plenty more goals to be had."  And so there were.
Some might call it a sadistic pleasure to want to put so many past an opposition 'keeper.  Those wouldn't include Mitch Snares, Dan Farnan, Olly Holt or skipper James Hamilton, who certainly enjoyed the thrill of finding the net and the team work that went into creating the goals. 
But now the skipper has a big problem on his hands.  Finding the best way to beat top of the table Royston next week (?Answer - get M3 to knock them off the top of the table - see below).  

Royston M2 - 0   Stevenage M3 - 2

The visitors turned a tough challenge at the league leaders into a routine win by blocking off the channels that the home side like to work. Zeddy Wilcock fired in the first goal from a Nick Crocker penalty corner and Chris Strickland scored in the second half to give a buffer that was hardly needed as their opponents lost an undefeated league record while managing just two efforts on goal.

St Albans Citizens - 5  Stevenage M4 - 0

The visitors lost out to a strong side after starting well, but having conceding two first half goals were always chasing the game. Despite exerting good pressure on the home defence in the second half three more goals were conceded.

Stevenage M5 - 3  Hertford M4 - 4

Mens 5s were at home to Hertford 4s on Saturday, engaging in an unexpectedly evenly matched game. Despite dominating most of the first half, the home side were surprised by an early goal from Hertford, who despite coming under constant attack managed to slip through the Stevenage defence. 3 goals from Dave Wells, Zach Shaw and visitor Nick Russell still proved no match for Hertford’s constant supply of fresh legs from their squad of 16 players who exploited the few gaps between Stevenage’s seemingly endless progressive campaigns, to steal a further 3 goals. Once again a frustrating result for Stevenage, who were certainly on form, but need to work on their finishing and either improve their stamina or find some subs…

Stevenage M6 - 2  Rickmansworth - 1 (Friendly)

A late goal from Will Hammond to follow up his first half strike saw the home side beat the team that has withdrawn from their league.

Letchworth L1 - 2  Stevenage L1 - 0

This would be a tough test for stevenage this week letchworth came out very strong with some fast play and breaking runs there were some very near misses with some great saves from jenny harding, letchworth managed to convert a short corner and stevenage went 1-0 down. But stevenage kept there heads up and carried on fighting with strong play up the wing from jude weston and great runs from lucy harvey stevenage were now back in the game.

Second half saw the game turn around back from injury carly seaton looked good and created lots of chances, kate murray made it hard work for the letchworth defence she gained lots of short corners for stevenage and they now looked set to score, with a strike from lucy harvey hitting the post hilary siddall couldn't quiet get it in with a scramble on the line. Debbie Church again hit the post and it didn't look like it was stevenage's day, with one more attack from letchworth they managed to score with a strike from the top of the 'D' it turned out to be an unlucky result for stevenage but a good performance overall.

Stevenage L2 - 3  Cheshunt L1 - 3

For 30 minutes the visitors played better than the home side in the important areas of the pitch but still did not look worthy of the three goal lead they took. Hannah Collard started the fight back with a goal just before halftime soon after Liz Gates had taken charge of their opponents most dangerous player. The second half saw Jo Thorpe drive her team forward and maintain almost constant pressure on the visitors. Alfie Gunther reduced the arrears and Karen Meadows forced home the equaliser. In the final 5 minutes it was only the home side that looked capable of finding a winner.

 

Broxbourne L4 - 0  Stevenage L3 - 0

The visitors battled hard to earn a point against a side just above them in the league.

Welwyn L4 - 2  Stevenage L4 - 1

Another strike from Nikki Davies not enough to stop a defeat to mid-table rivals.

Stevenage L5 - 0  Tring L4 - 8

A fifth straight league defeat for L6 - but will they stay off the bottom of the table.

SATURDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2010

West Herts M4 - 1   Stevenage M3 - 1   

The only team who managed to go ahead with their match last weekend was Nick Russell's third eleven away at West Herts 4's.
In a very open game both teams went out with attacking intentions.  The first chance for Stevenage fell to Khalid Mehmood after a great through ball from Nick Crocker, however his shot was well saved. At the other end Seb Rose and Danny Hounslow were making some crunching tackles to keep out the Herts attack.  Tony Farnham was distributing the ball well to the right side of Stevie Hamid and Chris Hall, and these youngsters were causing problems for the Herts defence with attacking directness. Hall crossed for Harp Mann who saw his effort go just wide.
Stevenage started to get the upper hand with Strickland and Crocker controlling the midfield and creating good opportunities for their forwards and wide men. Tom Woolley and Farnham had efforts well saved before West Herts missed a clear chance at goal.
In the second half both sides continued on the offensive, the first real chance of the half coming when Blackburn was put clear by Strickland. He drew the oncoming keeper and unselfishly slipped the ball to Mann who with the goal at his mercy pushed wide of the empty net. This miss seemed crucial when Herts took the lead after some good passing in a well worked move.
The game was flowing now and both sides had chances to score with Seb Rose coming close before Farnham and Hamid both had to retire injured. Stevenage then won a penalty corner and Nick Crocker's shot rebounded off the home keeper's pads to the edge of the circle where substitute Roger Barlow was waiting to crash home a bullet of a shot which roofed the net to equalise for Stevenage.  A minute later a great ball from Strickland found Barlow again, this time however his high effort flew wide and over the perimeter fence.
Hounslow and Rose continued to make some tough challenges to keep Herts at bay, but towards the end Mann combined well with Mehmood only to see his last gasp effort at a winner saved yet again by an impressive Herts keeper.  Wets Herts also had a few late opportunites however the away defence were up to the challenge and kept everything out.


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