L1 0 - Blueharts 4
So a new season begins with a local derby for Stevenage Ladies 1st XI. With a few changes of players, as well as a change in the style of play, the ladies are still very much in the process of working out the kinks. That said, the way in which the team played was extremely positive. Keeping their heads high after going down 2-0 by half time it was by no means an easy game for rivals Blueharts. Stevenage gave as good as they got, but couldn't find the goal. The home side defended well, however were unable to to prevent two further goals from an opposition who seemed to score from Stevenage's mistakes, rather than them being the better team. A lot of positives to take with them through the season.
M1 2 - Bedford 2s 3
Scorers: Danny Blackburn, Graham Swinyard
Stevenage under new Skipper Jon Oliver started their league campaign on Saturday away at league favourites Bedford II’s. Oliver took an under strength side to Bedford but to their credit the players such as James Hamilton, Andy Gardner, Chris Perry and Ryall Schwartz stepped up and all had solid games.
Bedford, as expected, took the game to the visitors and had the best of the early possession. Paul Graves and Matt Oliver were making some decisive challenges to help protect Tim Dingley’s goal, and the keeper pulled off some good stops to keep the score level.
In the first period Stevenage were restricted to their own half and were given little opportunity to attack, on the rare occasion they did Blackburn was isolated and outnumbered by Bedford defenders who were very well organised. Richard "Larry" Hamilton was with the help of Jon Oliver trying to get a grip on the midfield which eventually was beginning to work. Stevenage’s gallant defending was unable to prevent Bedford taking the lead just before half time when a well taken flick from the edge of the area beat a stunned Dingley.
In the second half Stevenage came out fighting and good work from Schwartz and Graves almost gave Larry an opening, but the defence were sharp and cut out the dangerous ball. It was soon to be 2-0 when another Bedford move over-powered the visitors and was finished with a nice strike. Stevenage still battled hard and were very unlucky to go 3 down when a shot fired back off the crossbar after a good deflective save from Dingley and landed in the path of the waiting Bedford forward who just had to tap the ball in to an empty net. Jon Oliver rallied his troops and soon after James Hamilton crossed for Danny Blackburn to lob the ball over the advancing keeper to make it 3-1. This seemed to encourage the Stevenage side and Ben De Laune then set Graham Swinyard on his way, who in acres of space fired the ball past a stranded keeper with the help of a cruel deflection to make it 3-2. In the final minutes Stevenage pushed forward but to no avail making the final score 3-2 to an impressive Bedford side.
M5 0-6 Luton 4s
The newly promoted 5s failed to make an auspicious entry into league 8SW, losing 6-0 at home to Luton 4s. A 60% change of players since last season's winning run has left the team somewhat weakened, and the lack of team experience was no match for the impressive scoring antics from Luton. However, it wasn't all bad; there were occasional glimpses of potential, and the usual early season reshuffles should eventually provide the team with some consistency once the whole club gets into winter mode.
M6 1 - Winchmore Hill & Enfield 5
Scorer: Tom Wharon
For the first match of the season not too bad a result. We were 3-0 down at half time and worked hard throughout the match, with some excellent work from our two new team members. We battled hard and Tom Wharton eventually put one past their keeper, but in the end we suffered a 5-1 defeat against a strong Winchmore Hill & Enfield team.