Hockey: "Just about good enough..." - Marlborough men's shaky times & a fortunate winner

Written by Matt Way on .

Old Bristolians   3    Marlborough   4

Marlborough's first league game after the Christmas break has traditionally not produced the best of results. So when they went 1-0 down to Old Bristolians following a poor defensive turnover, they could have been forgiven for thinking that they had their work cut out.

However they steadied the ship well and began to exert their dominance on the game with lots of pressure on the OB's circle. Marlborough started to turn this pressure into scoring opportunities, but the OB's defence stood firm with numerous blocks and saves to deny an equaliser.

Marlborough did eventually pull themselves level following a well placed flick by Rich Fynn which the OB's keeper could only deflect onto the body of one of his own players standing on the goal-line. With the umpire about to award the penalty stroke, Matt Way was able to react quickest to the loose ball and "prod" the ball over the line.

Following the equaliser, Marlborough began to force mistakes form the OB's back line which resulted in Alex Renwick winning the ball high up the pitch. He intelligently recycled the ball back to Rhys Davies who was working hard to get up with play.   

Davies managed to control the ball well under pressure and play it square to Matt Way who crashed it into the circle towards Will Radnedge who deflected it across goal and into the top corner of the net - a lovely team goal.

Marlborough looked to have survived the storm and were heading for half time when OB's were awarded a short corner following Chris Jones being hit in the head in the circle.  Fortunately the ball wasn't travelling at too great of a pace and so he was able to carry on.

However from the resulting corner OB's were awarded a penalty stroke when following Brian Marnane's first save the ball rebounded high into the air. With numerous bodies underneath the ball and stick's raised above head height play would normally stop and another corner be awarded, however in this instance the umpire decided it "wasn't dangerous" and so allowed play to continue.

The miss-hit from the OB's forward bounced into the turf and up into Chris Jones' body and a penalty stroke was duly awarded.  Brian Marnane was left with no chance with a flick dispatched low to his right and into the sideboard.

Half time at 2-2 and Marlborough knew that OB's would come out with a renewed energy. Once again Marlborough found themselves behind in the game when they conceded a third goal early in the second half due to some more uncharacteristic defending.

Having to chase the game Marlborough upped their intensity and applied high pressure to the OB's defensive line. This resulted in more turnovers inside the OB's half with continued territorial advantage. To their credit OB's defended their circle resolutely and looked dangerous on the counter attack with their lively attacking line.

In the end, Marlborough's efforts were rewarded when they built the ball well to the baseline, Rich Fynn pulled the ball across and the first effort by Marlborough was saved well by the OB's keeper. However the rebound fell to John Berry, who had continued his run from midfield and he calmly slotted the ball into the open goal on his reverse.

OB's seemed to physically drop off with this goal and Marlborough were able to make it a fantastic come-from-behind victory after they scored a fortunate winner.  

John Berry was once again at the centre of it, carrying the ball well to the top of the circle. He saw a gap and drove hard into the circle and got his shot off, unfortunately for OB's, their keeper had misjudged the situation and allowed the ball to roll into the corner of the goal.

Not the way in which you would want to win a game, but Marlborough felt they deserved the victory for their territorial dominance in the game despite some excellent counter-attacking play from OB's.   As one Marlborough player said: "Just about good enough..."

Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to John Berry for his involvement in most of Marlborough's positive forward play.