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.
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.