After a disappointing campaign last season which saw them relegated from the Championship to Conference North, Marlborough travelled (September 28) to old adversaries Bath Buccs B who had also been relegated.
With decent pre-season training behind them, Marlborough planned to employ their new 4-3-3 formation to good effect and combined with their disciplined approach to their defensive press, looked to control and stifle their opposition.
Both sides began the game aiming for solidarity in defence and midfield although it wasn’t long before both sides were fashioning free flowing moves down both flanks creating an exciting spectacle for the numerous supporters on the side lines.
There were goal opportunities for both teams, with Marlborough coming closest when young striker Will Radnedge hit the post after a delectable dink over the onrushing Buccs goalkeeper.
The second half began with Buccs trying to further assert themselves given their superior number of substitutes. But although they controlled much of the possession, Marlborough were able to hold firm without their goal being directly threatened.
Marlborough themselves were not without chances and after several quick breakaway moves had a goal disallowed. And then just missed out on taking the lead after several goal mouth melees.
The game ended as a rare 0-0 draw with both sides playing some attractive and effective hockey. A fair result for the start of the season for both sides.
Bristol UWE A vs Marlborough Game drawn 2-2
After a goalless draw the previous week Marlborough made the short trip down the M4 (October 5) to face their second university side in successive weeks. Having played University of the West of England’s first team the previous year Marlborough, knew that they would be facing a capable, fit and youthful opposition.
The game began with Marlborough in the ascendancy making good attacking moves down the right and left hand flanks. They were very quickly rewarded after Rich Holman’s pinpoint pass across the goalkeeper was met by a diving Will Hughes to open the scoring.
For the remainder of the half Marlborough contained the opposition with ease, but disaster struck when player coach and defensive stalwart Matt Way was struck on the knee whilst bravely defending a UWE short corner routine. With Way unable to continue Marlborough slightly re-jigged their formation and were able to end the half 1-0 up.
The second half began with UWE in the ascendancy, having altered their attitude and formation.
Somewhat against the run of play Marlborough found themselves a further goal ahead after a short corner routine. Holman’s bullet like shot was miraculously saved by the UWE keeper, but Hughes was once again on hand and after several deft touches under pressure was able to slide the ball home.
In danger of losing on home turf UWE redoubled their efforts and were soon pressing Marlborough deep in their half. Their constant rotation of fresh attackers and midfielders opened wide spaces as the game moved on and after a short corner drag flick the deficit was reduced to 2-1.
The tide of the game had truly turned and with Marlborough under great pressure UWE found their equaliser after a top ‘d’ defensive mix up which was mercilessly pounced on. To their great credit Marlborough held strong for the remainder of the game with the end result being 2-2.
Will Hughes was deservedly named man of the match for his vital two goal contribution and his tireless running up front.