SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER 2010

Stevenage M1  - 1 Bedford M2   - 2 

After a convincing opening day victory Stevenage entertained the team who were promoted with them last season and it was the visitors who looked the stronger from the start, causing plenty of problems early on with quick passing and excellent movement off the ball. The home side defended gallantly and if it hadn't been for some impressive challenges from Wright and Blaxill could have found themselves behind. Mould's men were working hard but were unable to break through and create any dangerous attacks against a well structured Bedford side.

Brown and Swinyard were trying to disrupt Bedfords attacks through midfield but the away side were proving too strong. The visitors were unlucky not to take the lead when they put the ball in the net, however the umpire ruled the effort dangerous and disallowed the goal to the dismay of the Bedford players and coach. The visitors were then denied by a great save from Dingley and then saw the rebound cleared off the goal-line by Matt Oliver.  Stevenage were holding on when Jon Oliver broke down the left wing and after good work with brother Ben Oliver crossed for Blackburn who couldn't get a decisive connection. Bedford then created several more good chances before the break but were unable to take a deserved lead through either poor misses or good stops by Dingley .

In the second half Stevenage got more in to the game as John Mould pushed his side forward playing alot more attacking and freely. Brown was getting more possession and distributing well whereas Nichols and Oliver were making more attacking runs from wing back positions.  Bedford still moved the ball around slickly and were always going to be a threat as in the first half, they got their reward when after a good attacking move their winger calmly put a ball in the area for the centre forward to slot home.

To the home sides credit they picked themselves up and pushed forward Ben Oliver put Blackburn through and his effort was well saved by the Bedford keeper. Stevenage had worked endlessly throughout but were starting to tire, a substitution was needed and Mould brought on young Spaniard Juan Lauterschlager whose pace would surely benefit the home sides pursuit of a equaliser!  It wasnt long before the Skipper's faith was rewarded when after a mix up in the Bedford defence, Oliver slipped in Lauterschlager to fire home his first league goal for Stevenage.

At 1-1 it was game on even though the visitors were still piling on the pressure.  Stevenage's game had improved significantly in the second period but still looked vulnerable to Bedfords quick counters and passing game. Bedford were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty when Dingley upended a player in the area, however nothing was given. A minute later the visitors also hit the post with a ferocious effort. Swinyard and Mould combined well to put Oliver and Blackburn away but Bedford piled back in numbers and cleared their lines well. Blaxill and Wright were still working endlessly but could do nothing about Bedford's eventual deserved winner. After a flowing move down the field of play, Bedford finally got the goal they had deserved with a great finish at the far post, which to be fair nobody in the home team could have stopped due to the pin point passing of a impressive side.

In the closing minutes the home side pushed forward with Jon Oliver going close before a good late stop form the visiting keeper from a Brown effort, but it ended 2-1 with no complaints from the shattered home side.

Luton Vagrants - 4  Stevenage M2 -  3

Stevenage started this encounter by far the more sprightly.  With a new system of play, skipper James Hamilton hoped to force a counter attacking style into the 2nd XI.  It appeared to be working, with the pressure being soaked up and then a burst to get the ball up to the front three as quickly as possible.  However, a lapse in concentration allowed an experienced Luton Vagrants side to have a short corner, from which the rebound off Dave Church's pads was undercut into the net. 

Stevenage didn't allow this to phase them.  Almost straight away they attacked the Vagrants end and forced a free hit just outside of the 23. 

Geoff Trew hit the ball directly into the D and quick thinking Ryall Swartz had his stick on the ground, ready to ricochet the ball into the top left.  Vagrants hit many long balls at Stevenage's defence which were allowed to harmlessly pass over the backline.  However, one ball was latched onto by the forward line, who, although forced wide, managed to get a wicked cross in from inside the D that was nudged into the back post by a Stevenage player.  A further mix up in defense saw the Vagrants round Dave Church and smuggle a ball into the goal.

Half time came with Stevenage wondering what they had to do to convert their superior possession into much needed goals.  Resolving to try harder and pass more, Stevenage spent the first 5 minutes camped in the Vagrants last third.  A short corner was won, MOTM Andrew Gardner lifted a ball into the back of the goal.  3-2 and everything to play for.  

An innocuous fall from Chris Watson saw a Vagrants player hit the ball sideline bound, although some Stevenage players thought it appeared to be a bad pass.  The ball was played quickly from the sideline, play progressed fast towards the Vagrants goal as all of the Vagrants players had stopped and were incredulous about what was unfolding.  Olly Holt dispatched the ball into the goal, much to the suprise of the Vagrant players.  Five minutes of madness ensued with a Vagrants player saying enough to earn a yellow card and their skipper a green.  It was agreed by the senior Stevenage players present that a walk in goal should be granted in the spirit of fair play and so it happened.  4-3 and still more events were to follow.  A raised stick to catch an aerial ball by the Vagrants captain earned him a yellow card meaning the home side were down to nine players.  Stevenage had lots of pressure, but some good goalkeeping kept the Vagrants ahead.  Two players came back, only to see another Vagrants player talk himself into a yellow card.  Stevenage attacked hard, but in the end couldn't make anything count as tiredness creeped in and passing errors mounted. 

Stevenage M3  -  2   St Albans M5  -  2

Another good battling team performance against an experienced St Albans team saw us come from 2 goals down to share the points. We found ourseleves 1-0 at half time despite long periods of possession. St Albans went two goals up shortly after the break, Stevenage then replied with goals from Tufty Barlow and a converted short corner from Nick Crocker. The game finished with Stevenage the stronger and unlucky not to take all the points.

Luton Town M3  -  1   Stevenage M4  -  5

After soaking up alot of pressure in the first 10 minutes Stevenage went 1 up through Harry Wheeler from a short corner. Luton equalised mid way through the first half and Stevenage took the lead after Chris Perry finished a good move. Kev Fisher made it 3 after a  break away and Harry Wheeler and Andy Davis added late goals to wrap up another fine all round performance from the 4s

Stevenage M5 - 0   Potters Bar M3 - 2

Berkhamsted M4 - 6  Stevenage M6 - 1

Another whole hearted performance from Big Bopper's men cruelly punished by the scoreline. Zak Shaw equalised an early home goal but a goal just before half-time put the visitors behind and a series of defensive errors and great deal of pressure lead to a second heavy league defeat.

Stevenage L1 -  1   Phoenix L1 - 2

The home side hoped to put the disappointment of last week's derby defeat by Blueharts behind them and started well. But the visitors exerted pressure and scored on the break. After this Stevenage picked up their game and had many chances to score but the visitor's keeper made a series of great saves to keep her team ahead at half-time. Early in the second half Phoenix scored again, this time from a short corner before Andrea Clarke scored a somewhat scrambled goal to reduce the arrears but the home side could not prevent a second league defeat.
 
Stevenage L2 - 2    Aylesbury L2 - 3

A PF from Debbi Church gave the homeside an early lead but Aylesbury soon caught up and went ahead as a cold ridden Stevenage team started to flag. A half time pep talk from Danny Blackburn paid off as Liz Gates gifted a lovely cross for a perfectly positioned Karen Meadows to slot past the keeper and level the score. Aylesbury dug deep and despite losing two players to injury managed to put a third in. Hopefully all colds will have been banished by next week and Liz Gates is praying that someone else might volunteer for the hated centre mid position!

Stevenage L3 - 4   Hertford L3 - 0

Holly Ashworth, Holly O'Connor (2) and Nicki Reynolds scored the goals in a fine win.

Queenswood L2 - 1    Stevenage L4 - 1

In a game of two halves Nikki Davies put the visitors ahead as they dominated the first and only sterling defensive work prevented the home side scoring more than one as they took control in the second.

Saffron Walden L6 - 15  Stevenage L5 - 0

With only 9 players a sadly depleted Stevenage side were heading for a heavy defeat even before the home side substituted their keeper with an outfield player to help rub salt into the wound.

SATURDAY 9 OCTOBER 2010

Southend M1 - 7   Stevenage M1 - 2

M1 took a much weakened side to Southend on Saturday with several key players missing and the early stages of the match didn't bode well for the visitors as Southend piled pressure on the visitor's goal. The Stevenage defence was soon making some invaluable challenges but in the end the onslaught from the home team was too much with four home goals coming in quick succession and Stevenage already out of the match. Late on in the first half the visitors did create a few chances with Blaxill coming close from a penalty corner before John Mould crossed for Gary Brown to hit just wide.
In the second half Stevenage started to get more in to the game and gave the home side more of a match - which after their first half display wasn't too difficult - there were early chances for Van Roojgen and Ben Oliver.
Southend were still creating many of their own opportunities and demanding some fine saves from Tim Dingley as well as requiring Matt Oliver to deflect a goal bound effort on to his post to prevent the goal. Mould  gave Danny Blackburn a great pass and he set up Ben Oliver to fire home and make the scoreline 4-1. Southend replied within a minute to make it 5-1 when another flowing attack resulted in a well taken goal which was undefendable.
Van Roojgen was then sin-binned for verbal abuse before Danny Blackburn pulled another goal back to make it 5-2 with a cool finish.
Southend had been the better side all afternoon but the visitors decided to push forward to try and get a bit of pride from this match. Blackburn had a good effort brilliantly saved and Brown tried to cut through the home teams defence but to no avail. Southend then won a penalty stroke when Dingley was adjudged to upend a forward in the area gave the keeper no chance from the spot.
At 6-2 the visitors continued to battle bravely to compete in a game they felt sure they could have won with a full strength side, but the home side added a seventh goal near the end. Next weekend Stevenage visit Vauxhall in Luton and skipper Mould is hopeful he can see the return of some key players to help secure the three points his team need.
 

Stevenage M2 - 6   Berkhamsted M2 - 2

M2 this week desperately wanted to convert their run of good play into goals - and they couldn't have hoped for much better than what ensued.  A supremely in-form Olly Holt was set up nicely by an industrious Niall Anderson to open the Stevenage account.  The next was an individual touch of brilliance from Holt.  The Berkhamsted keeper chased Olly to the short corner mark and seemed certain to get the ball.  Holt deftly lifted the ball over the prone keeper, then, whilst the ball was still moving from this manouvre, flicked the ball into the only bit of goal he could see.  The next Stevenage goal could have been goal of the game if it weren't for the stunner that Holt had just produed.  Berko had just smuggled a goal back of their own, so frustration was starting to kick in, since the previous two games had ended 4-3.  Stevenage won a short corner which was pushed out by Anderson to James Hamilton at the top of the D.  Time slowed as Hamilton turned the receive into a drag flick that was still rising as it hit the top left of the net. 3-1 half time with some happy faces all round.

The second half began with Berko trying to up the tempo and force through a resilient defence of Dave Church, Tim Wright, Terry Kingston, Tom Wharton and Geoff Trew.  Instead the home side worked harder and repelled the attacks, which suited the counter-attacking formation set up by the captain.  Mitch Snares, set up by some fine play by Chris Watson and Anderson, finished a great attack with aplomb.  Having worked hard throughout the game, the midfield and defence chose to have a nap, allowing Berko to get a free run at goal, which Kingston was powerless to keep out, try as he might.  So, to set this right, Wharton decided to take this opportunity to show the opposition how to score from defence. 
Dan Farnan, having worked hard and not stopped running, scored the 6th goal for a Stevenage side on a high. 

Bring on the inter-club game with the 3s next week!

Bishops Stortford M5 - 3   Stevenage M3 - 2

M3 found themselves two goals down at an early stage, after a slow start and the loss of influencial Nick Crocker after only 10 minutes, and ultimately this cost them the game. Harp Mann pulled one back only for Stortford to restore the two goal cushion shortly afterwards.
A much better second half performance saw Stevenage create lots of chances and hit the post before Mann scored his second late in the game.
 

Stevenage M4 - 3   Letchworth M5 - 2

The home side went two up through penalty corner conversions by Martin Swarbrick and young Bailey Dingley, before a deflection from skipper Simon Russell's foot and a fine Letchworth goal evened the scores. But another Dingley strike from a penalty corner put Stevenage back in control before half-time, and in the second half they soaked up the pressure well and finished stroongly to maintain their 100% record.

Rickmansworth M4 - 0    Stevenage M5 - 2

Young Zak Shaw scored both to give M5 their first points of the season.

Stevenage M6 - 2   Hertford M4 - 1

How's this for a line-up? Mould, Hamid, Hutchinson, Cornell, Woolley, Blaxill, Wharton (with Hamilton side-lined unfortunately)... could be good, but these were the fathers of the players you might like to have in your team, and supplemented by five men with half a dozen games between them in the past 8 years who needed a catch up on rule changes (no offf-side at all?).

A superb Man-of-the-Match perfomance by back-from-the-dead Richard Ellis assisted by a super human effort from the super human frame of James "I never thought I'd be so knackered" Wharton and a fine debut from keeper Pete Dixon, enabled M6 to take their first points of the season from a lively and competitive encounter on the beaches of JHN.

Paul Mould finished off a short corner to give the home side an early lead cancelled out by a hard-working, previously undefeated, Hertford before half-time. An entirely even, end-to-end second half was capped by excellent work from Kevin Wharton who won possession to set up Graham Nicholls for the winner and a tense last 10 minutes for Dave Woolley's men.

Hertford L1 - 2    Stevenage L1 - 2

The visitors started well with plenty of possession in good attacking positions and capitalised on this by winning a penalty stroke after 10 minutes: Carly Seaton converted by flicking into the roof of the net. After this the visitors stayed on top and missed a number of chances to increase their lead before Steph Fanthorpe, who had been making excellent breaking runs, scored from a penalty corner to give them a two goal half-time lead.

Without the luxory of a substitute Stevenage started to tire in the second half and could not hold out. Hertford reduced the arrears and, despite some good defensive tackles from Jo Howlett made some great saves from keeper Jen Harding, the home side were able to grab an equaliser near the end.

Shefford & Sandy L2 - 0    Stevenage L2 - 1

Despite a lack of availability across the ladies section, a gutsy performance from the ladies 2's joined by four players from lower teams bagged Stevenage a hard fought 1-0 win against Shefford & Sandy 2's, winners in both their games so far.

On paper this should have been mission impossible. Jess Day found herself the sole remaining 2's defender and regular forwards Alfie Gunther and Debbi Church were about to find out what real work was like in their new centre midfield positions. Despite the odds being stacked against them, this eclectic and out of position team miraculously gelled from the start, playing some beautifully supportive hockey that any regular team would be proud of. This resulted in a evenly matched first half, though the end result might have been very different had it not been for player of the match Lisa Pickard who brilliantly saved two penalty flicks - the 2nd as a consequence of midfielder Bex Church displaying absolute commitment to her temporary defence position by heading a goal bound shot over the cross bar.

Growing in confidence, Stevenage opted for an early attack sortie in the 2nd half with Debbi Church christening her new stick in the 4th minute. More chances came for the visitors with some great runs from Annabelle Reilly and Becky O'Conner resulting in a number of short corners which, had 2's Captain Jo "you really don't want to be standing in front of me when I strike" Thorpe not been away, may well have put the reds further in front. Having the advantage of substitutes, Shefford & Sandy piled on the pressure but were met with staunch defensive resistance from Claire Swarbrick and Emma Houlihan. With 15 minutes to go, the centre midfield were on their last legs but Stevenage resolutely dug deep into their reserves with younger midfielders Karen Meadows and Hannah Collard helping the old timers out by chasing down every loose ball. To Stevenage, the final whistle sounded like an all clear siren and was met with a thoroughly deserved victorious cheer.     
 

St Albans L5 - 1    Stevenage L3 - 2

Ros Fewell and Holly Ashworth scored the goals that gave L3 a good away victory and their second win out of three games.

Stevenage L4 - 2    Chess Valley L2 - 1

Nikki Davies grabbed both goals to keep L4 undefeated this term.

Stevenage L5 - 0    Bedford L5 - 8

L5 clearly missing the defensive rock that is Anne Graves at present.

SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER 2010

Vauxhall M1  - 2    Stevenage M1  - 1

Stevenage travelled to Vauxhall in Luton on Saturday hoping to get their league campaign back on  track after two defeats in a row and started the brighter side. Ben Oliver, Gary Brown, John Mould and Danny Blackburn all threatened the home defence in the first 10 minutes. The visitors were getting balls in the Vauxhall circle but were unable to open the scoring through good defending or poor final passes.
With Stevenage midfield in control but chances not falling kindly to the forwards, frustration was starting to show and Vauxhall picked up their game, and Tim Wright and Andy Blaxill had to make some crucial tackles to protect keeper Tim Dingley.
The home side took the lead after some good skill resulted in a well taken goal from the Vauxhall centre forward. This did seem a little harsh on Stevenage but worse was to come a few moments later when just before half time Vauxhall added a second and this blow seemed to hit the visitors hard.
Stevenage started the second half slowly and Vauxhall were piling pressure on the away teams goal. Dingley had to make some good stops to keep the score at 2-0, although when Matt Oliver then went on a run down the right wing crossing to Brown, the visitors were unlucky not to score.
Blackburn then persevered in running after a long clearance but as he rounded the keeper to cross for Brown, a Vauxhall defender's foot intervened. From the resultingpenalty corner Blaxill's strike was saved and Ben Oliver was unable to find the net with the rebound.
Skipper John Mould then produced a solo run and pulled a goal back with a perfect finish which flew past the helpless keeper.
Stevenage pushed for a equaliser but it wasn't to be their day and a third straight defeat left them hoping for a much needed win against Wapping next Saturday.
 

Stevenage M3  - 4   Stevenage M2  - 3

The relegation of M2 lead to a keenly anticipated league meeting with the 3s and it was a hard fought encounter in which the "lower" side came out on top in a seven goal thriller.

The Thirds took the lead when Khalid Mehmood pounced following a penalty corner, but first Mitch Snares and then Ollie Holt, from a well worked opening, put the Seconds ahead before Chris Strickland pounced on a loose ball at another penalty corner to equalise before half-time.

Joe Stafford set up Harp Mann to put the Thirds back in front and skipper Nick Russell extended the lead by looping the ball over keeper Dave Church. Mitch Snares scored again to reduce the arrears but sustained pressure from the Seconds could not bring an equaliser.

 

Stevenage M4  - 2   Welwyn Garden City M4  - 3

The home side did not end their winning run without a fight but trailed 3 - 0 just after half-time. Bailey Dingley scored from the penalty spot and Andy Davies added a second at the far post, but it was not enough to rescue the game.

 

M5 - No game - Royston M5 withdrawn from league

Stevenage M6  - 2  Letchworth M6  - 0

Michael Tyler scored in the first half and Paul Mould pounced on a loose ball at a penalty corner in the second, as the home side kept their first clean sheet of the season.

Stevenage L1  - 1  Chelmsford L3  - 1

With defender Nicky George at her wedding in Greece, and many of her team mates with her, all of Stevenage Ladies' teams were weakened on Saturday. The First XI entertained bottom side Chelmsford, looking for their first point of the season, and the visitors exerted most of the early pressure and despite good defending from Hilary Sidall and others, took an early lead.

A brighter second half for  home side produced some near misses before a great run from Kate Murray lead to her scoring an equaliser near the end. 

Stevenage L2  - 0  Saffron Walden L2  - 7

For the second week running Stevenage 2's fielded an mixed team of 2's and 3's and were sadly outplayed by a superior Saffron Walden team.
Grateful thanks to the 3's players for giving up their own game again, it was a spirited effort and could well have been much more than the 7-0 result. Player of the Match (for the 2nd week running) Lisa Pickard was awesome once again in goal. The 2's now have two weeks off league matches and fervently hope that the club's recent run of unavailability will be over by the time they re-start in November.

Welwyn Garden City L3  - 1   Stevenage L3  - 0

The L3 lost the Game to WGC 0-1 with Amanda Lawrence in superb form and despite matching a strong WGC outfit in most areas of the pitch.

West Herts L4  - 7    Stevenage L4  - 0

Like other teams L4 were below strength and lost their unbeaten record in a big way.

L5 Match postponed

SATURDAY 23 OCTOBER 2010

Stevenage M1  -  4   Wapping M2  -  1

Stevenage were close to full strength for the first time this season against well organised visitors and that produced an enthralling encounter. The home side were dominant in the early periods, playing with discipline and defending well, with chances falling to Mike Oliver, John Mould and Jon Oliver, however these efforts were thwarted by fine saves from the Wapping keeper.  Wapping's build up play was structured and patient but when they did get past one home defender there was always another to deter them.  Andy Blaxill and Tim Wright were in control at the back and Skipper Mould patrolled the pitch along the back line with authority and composure. 

Dan Parker made a comeback to the side and distributed well to Graham Swinyard and Danny Blackburn down the left of midfield.  Blackburn who was back in his favoured position of left midfield was causing problems for the Wapping right side by making determined runs with the ball and putting in clever passes for Ben and Mike Oliver in attack, and for Gary Brown running at goal from midfield. Brown hit just wide before Mike Oliver hit the post before Wapping replied, also hitting a post and forcing good saves from Tim Dingley in goal.  This first half was the best Stevenage had played all season and they were eventually rewarded when Mould put Ben Oliver through, he shot from the edge of the circle and saw his shot fly into the net off a defenders foot for his first of the afternoon.  Mike and Ben Oliver had plenty of chances to increase the lead but it was late on in the first half when Ben got his second with a fantastic strike after a good ball from Gary Brown.

Stevenage continued to press in the second period and were still creating good chances to extend their lead.  Ben Oliver was put through by Jon Oliver for a one on one for a hat-trick but the keeper made a impressive save to deny him on that occasion. Wapping still had a lot of possession and created some fine chances of their own with good build up play requiring crucial defensive challenges, but it was three for Stevenage and a fine hat-trick for Ben Oliver when he finished well after good work from Swinyard.

Wapping at this point started to make mistakes defensively and it was almost four when Ben Oliver slipped the ball to Blackburn whose goal bound effort deflected off the keepers shoulder to safety.  Blaxill then had a short corner well saved before Moulds reverse rebound went just wide. Wapping got one back when a good attack down the left wing resulted in their centre forward firing home, giving Dingley no chance of saving. However the home team were on top and starting to hold possession well: the passing and movement was exceptional with every player working hard for each other especially in midfield, and they added a fourth when Ben Oliver unselfishly put Gary Brown in to fire home from the top of the circle with his usual power.

After a disappointing few weeks on the pitch skipper John Mould can take great delight in a well deserved victory for his side knowing if they continue to play like this they will be a force to be reckoned with, and also giving a captains performance himself.  

Stevenage M2  -  2   West Herts M4  -  2

In a turnaround from last week, the men's 2nd XI stepped up their game another gear to give West Herts 4s (previous week 8-1 victors over Bishops Stortford), a near thrashing.  The result of 2-2 doesn't tell the story of how, three times in the first half, the same opposition post rang.  Nor how Callum Matthews was rampant down the right hand side of the park.  Nor even how man-of-the-match Andy Gardner went on some mazy runs to confuse the West Herts defence.  Skipper James Hamilton likes to think that it was the introduction of The Whiteboard before the game that got these elements working right.  Stevenage went ahead with a good move finished by the up-and-coming inside right player Olly Holt. A mix-up in defence saw the home side pulled back to 1-1, which it remained until half time, with Stevenage pressurising the West Herts defence at every opportunity.

The second half began with West Herts trying to use their youngsters to find a way through.  It took some great defensive work from Tom Wharton, Terry Kingston and Geoff Trew to repel them and put the Reds back in control of the ball.  The next strike went the way of the visitors though, with Hamilton unable to pull a ball out from a melee well enough that meant it was easy for the attacker to lift the ball over the couchant Dave Church.  Frustrated by this, the home side stepped up their game again, attacking the West Herts defense hard.  One such attack saw Mitch Snares running left to right across the opposition D when a defender decided to push him over, giving a PF away in the process.  Holt stepped up and put it top right to bring it back to evens.  There could have been a shout for another PF when Dan Farnan received the same treatment as Snares having annoyed the opposition defence with some fancy footwork, but it wasn't to be and that's how the score stayed until the end of the game.

Luton Town M2  -  2  Stevenage M3  -  3

The visitors were below par and this meant the result was better than the performance. Stevenage started brightly enough and went ahead from a goal from Harp Mann before the home side railed and pulled a goal back. Substitutions and a sin-binning lead to Stevenage hanging on as the half came to a close, but a Skipper Nick Russell shuffled his pack his team went ahead 2-1 courtesy of a trade mark penalty corner converted converted by Ian Wilcock. Luton equalised against the run of play only for Nick Crocker to score the winner from another penalty corner late in the game.

Vauxhall M2  -  3  Stevenage M4  -  2

For the second week running the 4s gave a team a 3 goal head start. 2 - 0 ahead at half time Vauxhall scored a third on the break before Stevenage pressure paid off through Tom Woolley and then a neat flick from Ian Brown. Stevenage laid siege to the Vauxhall goal but couldn't find an equaliser. Harry Wheeler was outstanding for Stevenage

Stevenage M5  -  1  West Herts M6  -  4

The home side started strongly with good passing backed up by a solid defence, but eventually let a tricky West Herts side score a somewhat messy goal before half-time. In the second half, Stevenage attacked more strongly, with some excellent partnerships between David Spicer, Zak Shaw and Ali Aubusson, being frustrated on several occasions by some impressive goalkeeping from the opposition. After Stevenage failed to capitalise on a number of short corners, Aubusson eventually managed to deservedly level the scores. However the fatigue of the home players’ legs began to show and West Herts out-ran Stevenage to score a further 3 goals, despite newbie sub Hughes’s ice-hockey style defensive antics. The final 10 minutes began to look far more positive, as West Herts also began to tire and Stevenage got a second wind; a series of attacks resulting in a barrage of shots on the keeper were only ended by the final whistle. Overall, a better performance from Stevenage than the score line suggests, against a team who scored 25 goals in their last 5 games, giving a good base to work from for the next few fixtures.

Cheshunt M3  -  2  Stevenage M6  -  0

Giving away many years to a youthful Cheshunt side Dave Woolley's men put up a good performance, battling from the back right up to a forward line unlucky not to score at least one goal in a fine open game played in good spirit.

Waltham Forest L2  -  0   Stevenage L1  -  1

Returning closer to full strength this was a great display from Stevenage who started well, creating lots of chances and unlucky not to score, Lucy Harvey coming close on a number of occasions. Eventually the always dangerous Kate Murray played a pass through the middle for Debbi Church to place expertly past the advancing goalkeeper and into the goal. After the break Waltham Forest had chances to equalise but they were few and far between as the visitors continued to attack and dictate play against a strong and sometimes physical side. Carly Seaton held the team together well in midfield and some of her interplay with Jude Weston was delightful. These three points eased some pressure on the team and lifted them above their opponents in mid-table.

Other Ladies Games were non-league this week, and all resulted in defeats without a goal being scored. L2 lost 0 - 4 at home to a strong St Albans second Xl, L3 visited Shefford and Sandy 4s and lost 0 - 2 and L5 were comprehensively beaten 0 - 8 at home by  Broxbourne L6.

SATURDAY 30 OCTOBER 2010

East London M1  -  5  Stevenage M1  -  1

Stevenage's away day blues continued on Saturday as they travelled to East London with a severely weakened side.
With many big names missing Stevenage were always going in to a tough test against a well organised London side.  From the start the home side piled the pressure on the Stevenage back line and early on made Dingley stop several good efforts. They however took the lead after ten minutes when a mistake at the back resulted in the London left winger being unmarked to slip the ball home. The visitors tried to mount some serious attacks of their own only to be thwarted by some bad decision making and badly timed passing of their own!
Brown had a effort go just wide before Oliver hit straight at the keeper. The home team were still the more affective and were creating plenty of chances Swinyard and Blackburn were working hard in the Stevenage midfield but were unable to break down many London attacks.  Mould cleared off the line before Blaxill deflected on to his own post to prevent a certain second goal. The second goal wasnt long in coming when again a strong London attack filled with pace walked through the struggling visitors with ease and the resulting strike from the home centre forward made it 2-0 at the break.
The second half started with another London attack which resulted in a goal. This time it was through a penalty corner which gave the backline and Dingley no chance of getting. Stevenage did start to get some possession but they needed to make a impact quickly if they were to get anything out of the game. Defender Tim Wright strived forward and slipped the ball to Mould whose effort was well saved and unfortunately Shwartz couldn't make the rebound.
Tom Wharton made a goal line clearance before Swinyard hit just wide at the other end. London then went on another quick and pacey attack which yet again resulted in a goal, this time the defence were just outpaced and swept aside as the London forwards made it 4-0.
Mould then decided to move the team around and put Blackburn up front with Oliver to try and get the team a couple of goals and some dignity. It took just a minute for Ben Oliver and Danny Blackburn to combine and get a goal back for the visitors. After a great one-two Blackburn pushed the ball past the oncoming Keeper to make it 4-1.
From the restart Stevenage put more pressure on East London and created several chances with both the two frontmen coming close. Blaxill then had a chance from a well worked short corner Brown had won and Mould hit a reverse sweep and was denied by a good save. East London won a series of penalty corners and made it five with a well worked penalty corner which again was undefendable. The tiring visitors did their best to break down the impressive London side but in the end had too many missing players and will hope that they have their full team bakc for the visit of Ford this coming saturday.
 
Letchworth M3  -  1  Stevenage M2  -  2

Stevenage Men's 2nd XI took on Letchworth 3s in a well fought encounter, with only one goal the difference between them.  Good strength and aggression and a smattering of luck gifted Stevenage two first half goals, with great teamwork in the build up to both.  Mitch Snares scored the first, dropping a bouncing bomb into the side netting of the Letchworth goal.  Olly Holt the second, with a well placed cross aimed at Chris Watson deflecting wickedly off the instep of the hapless Letchworth 'keeper.

Possibly due to the efforts exerted in the first half, Stevenage looked to have run out a little of the first half magic, allowing the Letchworth heads to raise a little.  A short corner given away allowed a good drag flick to bring the men in green back into touching distance for the last 10 minutes of the game.  However, a resilient Stevenage defence, led by man of the match Michiel van Rooijen, stopped a come-back giving the Reds the victory they deserved.

Stevenage M3  -  0   Harpenden M3  -  1

Despite long periods of possession the home side were frustrated by opposition that would have settled for a point but took all three thanks to a goal mid-way through the second half.


Stevenage M4  -  2  Royston M4  -  0

The 4s got back to winning ways with a great team performance against Royston. Stevenage had all the early pressure but went behind against the run of play. But Stevenage stepped up their game and despite going close through Ian Brown and Andy Davies it took until the stroke of half time for Ian Brown to equalize after some good play from Ali Boyd. The second half saw more pressure from the 4s and it paid off when Ian Brown scored his second off the day. Dave Berry maintained the lead with a fine double save before Dan Davis finished from close range to seal the victory.

Stevenage M6  -  2   Luton Town M4  -  2

We managed a hard fought draw against Luton - they were all kids apart from 3 adults one of whom was an excellent player who unfortunately put it about a bit.  Goal scorers were Richard McGavigan in his first game and Kevin Wharton. We were under the cosh the whole game, made 3 lightning counter attacks and went ahead by two goals and were unlucky with the third. They equalised with a stroke generously given and taken by one of the kids. It limped across the line.

Stevenage L1  -  0  Harpenden L1 -  1 (League on Saturday)

Stevenage on Harpenden for a second time on Saturday after beating them earlier this season. The game started with equal challenges from both teams, but both failed to score. Unfortunately Stevenage lacked formation, and weren’t able to make a strong attack. During the second half, Harpenden had a lucky break after Stevenage’s defence failed to close down early, and they went on to concede the only goal of the match.

Stevenage L1  -  2  Saffron Walden L1  -  2 (Cup on Sunday - Stevenage lost on penalties)

Stevenage faced opposition from a league above them in the HA Cup and looked well in control until the last quarter of the game after a fine goal from Hilary Siddal and a Debbi Church effort had given them a two goal lead. The visitors reduced the arrears with a penalty and equalised five minutes from the end. A period of extra time was goal-less and Saffron Walden won the penalty shoot-out easily.

Stevenage M5  -  4  West Herts M6  -  1 (Friendly)

In an act of ‘karmic’ revenge, mens 5s faced West Herts 6s in a friendly, only a week after having been beaten by them 4-1, due to the unfortunate event of three teams having dropped out of the league. Due to the difficult match the week before, Stevenage were fired up and determined not to repeat the experience so soon, fielding a sturdy side which heralded the return of former captain Martin Elliot, as well as an extravagant two subs on the bench. After making a strong start, Stevenage held their shape well, with evidence of the team’s recent training sessions being made clearly visible, leading to Michael Tyler beating the keeper twice in the first half. After a well earned breather, Stevenage rallied again, left-wing David Spicer finding his mark in the West Herts goal. Exploiting some confusion in front of the Stevenage goal, West Herts managed to pull back one goal, before Zach Shaw fired a celebratory shot past the West Herts keeper to complete Stevenage’s 4-1 victory. Disappointing for the team that this was only a friendly, and not providing the much-needed league points, but nonetheless a signal of intent that will hopefully inspire future performances.


Stevenage L4  -  2  Hertford L4  -  2 (Friendly)

The 4’s went to Hertford to play a friendly, playing a mixture of Hertford’s 3s and 4s who proved to be an equal match.  With 2 Hertford goals and most of the possession from the oppo in the first half, Nikki Davies’s goal shortly before the half time whistle was very welcome.  The second half saw Stevenage ladies regroup and take their turn in maintaining possession and an equaliser from Jo ‘Norfy’ Northfields.

In the other friendly games L2 lost 0 - 5 at home to a Broxbourne L2 side that were deadly in the circle and L3 lost 1 - 7 to a well drilled St Albans L3, Nicki Reynolds scoring for the home side.


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