Week 5: M1s win, to make it 3 on the spin
WH&E M1 1 : 0 Blueharts M4
The Men’s 1s travelled to Hitchin looking for their third win on the bounce. It was a blustery, rainy afternoon but recent victories meant confidence was high and the team were looking forward to zipping the ball about on the fast surface at Blueharts.
The first ten minutes started promisingly. Patient build-up and speedy switching of play around the back led to Winchmore dominating possession. A strong high press was forcing the opposition into turning over possession in their half and pressure was mounting.
Unfortunately, our structure started to wobble a bit and Blueharts began to gain some territory. However, the strong and organised defence of Jim, Lopez, Michael and Matt made sure they were unable to create any clear chances.
We then reasserted our dominance, and on a day where goalmouth action was in short supply, we created what turned out to be the match-winning opportunity from the main moment of quality in the match. From our 16, good movement in midfield from Stuart and Dominic opened up a channel through the middle. One pacy pass from the back, a deflection from midfield and Jason picked up the ball and ran at their defence. A neat inside slip to Colin and he moved into the D, winning a short-corner as their tracking runner hacked at his stick.
From the short, a fast injection from Tim opened up the opportunity for a straight strike, which the keeper managed to get half a foot on, but this left the rebound opportunity for Stan, which he despatched into the bottom corner. 1-0 Winchmore.
The second half needs little said about it. We created a couple more half-chances but couldn’t build on our lead. Both sides were impatient with the ball and this led to some frantic but unproductive hockey being played. Fortunately, Jim continued to show his good form in goal, cleanly taking the ball off their striker’s stick when they made a rare foray into our D.
At one point in the second half the umpire said this game would be on last on Match of the Day. He had a point. However, Winchmore showed plenty of fighting spirit to keep a clean sheet and there was no lack of effort in making sure we got those three points. So, whilst there is much to work on for the next game, if winning when not playing brilliantly is a good sign, then things look promising for the rest of the season.
WH&E M2 2 : 4 Hertford M5
Another close match for the Men’s 2s, but another unfortunate reverse against Hertford 5. Both sides had a strong spine of experience down the middle, and youthful legs on the wings, and Winchmore took the lead halfway through the first half from a short corner.
Although we were creating chances, we couldn’t extend the lead, and then were hit by a couple of sucker punches with a couple of Hertford goals from about 1 yard out giving first-half stand-in keeper Stuart no chance. Another goal from Hertford, drilled in from a short corner, left us 3-1 down at half-time, and worse was to come with an immediate fourth in the second half as an unfortunate deflection on a cross left the ball to be drilled bottom corner from the middle of the D.
Heads were momentarily down, but only momentarily. We kept on challenging, we kept on passing, and as the game opened up we had far more of the chances. We’ve got a number of skilful dribblers, but are currently lacking a natural goal-scorer. Older heads could have done better from top D, younger heads could have gambled more with their runs, and we may have snatched this one.
As it was, we only managed to get one back – a lovely drift across to the far post by Theo to get on the end of a cross, and despite Theo’s effort being saved Jonathan was there to score the goal. Overall, another enjoyable game, but another opportunity missed. Let’s start turning these good performances into good results!
WH&E L1 1 : 5 Staines L1
The ladies 1s slipped to another defeat in a game of contrasting halves. The first half was a tight affair, with the visitors grabbing the lead before Winchmore levelled with a well-executed penalty corner drilled in by Sam Deane. In the second half, Staines took control of the midfield and ran out comfortable winners with 4 well taken goals after the break.
WH&E L2 0 : 3 Old Merchant Taylors L2
An improved performance from the ladies 2s, but still not quite grinding out the results yet. Onwards and upwards. ?