Hockey: Marlborough men keep their unbeaten record with a display of 'grit and grind'

Written by Matt Way.

Marlborough     2      Westbury UB       1

Marlborough men's first team were delighted to keep their one hundred per cent record with their eighth consecutive win of the season - a home win over Westbury UB.

Marlborough started the game slowly, allowing Westbury lots of possession high up the pitch and they took a deserved lead when hesitation in the Marlborough defensive line allowed their forward to find the back of the net.

In the unusual position of being a goal down, Marlborough still looked nervous and following a misplaced pass in their own half were very nearly two goals down when a Westbury forward deflected the ball just wide with Brian Marnane narrowing the angle well.

Marlborough eventually found some more rhythm and managed to find space down the left hand side of the pitch to apply pressure to the Westbury circle. However they found their route to goal blocked by some resolute defending.  Westbury's game-plan to sit in deep and try to counter was working well.

Eventually the pressure told and Marlborough equalised following strong work down the right hand side of the pitch, the ball was fired across goal and Alex Renwick was able to hold off the physical marking to finish the move.

Marlborough continued to apply pressure until the half time whistle - to no avail.

The half time break allowed Marlborough to set out clear objectives for the second half, knowing full well that they had just played their most disjointed half of hockey this season.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Marlborough in the ascendancy, but Westbury holding firm under the pressure. The game swung in Marlborough's favour following an incisive move down the left hand side with Freddie Hazlitt finding WIll Radnedge in space.

He carried the ball powerfully into the circle, drawing the defender in before spinning into the defenders foot to win the short corner. Marlborough chose to use their newest routine and executed it well with Will Hughes sliding in at the back post to finish at the second attempt.

This goal seemed to galvanise Westbury as an attacking force, but they only looked truly dangerous through sloppy play from Marlborough inside their own half.

Thankfully, Marlborough were able to adjust their formation to protect the middle of the pitch and these numbers allowed Marlborough to manage the game intelligently by winning the ball back and aiming to retain possession under the high pressing of Westbury.

Marlborough were given an excellent game by an impressive Westbury team who are fully expected to rise up the table as the season goes on.

This was the sort of game in which Marlborough would - in previous few seasons - have found a way to drop points.  Now a real 'grind it out' attitude is being developed and making a big difference on the pitch.

The Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was awarded to Will Hughes for his fantastic energy in the forward line.

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