Swansea City 2 Marlborough 2
With a scratch side and multiple changes in personnel, Marlborough arrived at Swansea (November 25) somewhat unsure of what to expect of themselves and their opposition. Swansea lay two points behind Marlborough with both teams having had a positive start to the season.
Swansea started the game the better of the two sides. Their quick passing, aggressive running and well organised press all causing problems for the visiting side.
To their credit Marlborough rallied and with some excellent distribution from Mark Kinder and Chris Jones made some inroads of their own. The term ‘end to end’ could have been dreamt up just for this game as attack after attack from either side was repelled by the respective defences.
With the game crying out for a goal Marlborough obliged through star striker Alex Renwick. Renwick picked the ball up high and wide on the right hand side of the pitch before driving with ease past a defender and lobbing the advancing goalkeeper from a ridiculously tight angle - sheer class! The half time whistle followed soon after.
Swansea made some tactical changes at half time to try to elevate their whole team and soon after had the better of the play. They made several incisive passes which Marlborough defended ably. Several close misses for both sides indicated that more goals were sure to follow.
Swansea drew level after another quick move and the following crash ball/cross was deflected into the Marlborough goal by a diving Swansea player. A deserved equaliser. Buoyed by this the home side pressed on and had soon taken the lead following a defensive lapse by Marlborough - another deflection for the home side…
With 10 minutes to go Marlborough regrouped and were once again creating multiple consecutive chances of their own with the ball whizzing past the post or onto the Swansea goalkeeper's pads. With time running out, Marlborough picked up their deserved equaliser when Rhys Davies collected the ball following a rebounded shot and held the ball strongly against the Swansea defenders' challenge before firing the ball past the Swansea keeper.
Both teams finished strongly and the game ended at 2-2. An interesting, dynamic and enjoyable game of hockey with the home side feeling that they had more of the possession, but Marlborough feeling that they had the more clear cut chances.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match was Mark Kinder for fantastic work at centre back who having never played at that position before was exemplary in discipline and distribution.
Ed Watson reports on Marlborough Men's Second team fixture against Bristol and West's A team:
A brisk morning brought the risk of a cancellation, but thankfully the sun rose high enough to thaw the top pitch enough for an 11.30 push back.
Yet again it was a scratch team who assembled: the Seconds welcomed their 29th different player of the season!
Thankfully things clicked pretty quickly and the first 10 minutes saw Marlborough put Bristol & West under real pressure - with Toby Sampson opening the scoring with a smart deflection from a trademark Rich Holman slider.
Early optimism of a rout was sadly misplaced as a well organised visitors' team began to see a little more of the ball. There then followed a crazy five minutes with Bristol & West pulling ahead, first through a short corner and then an intercepted aerial cross-field ball.
The scores were level by half time thanks to another defection by Will Radnedge.
In what was turning out to be a topsy-turvy game, Marlborough slotted two more goals in quick succession, both from close range with Keith Radnedge and Will Hughes on hand to slot the ball past the keeper.
The end minutes of the game was predictably frenetic with Bristol & West pressing very high, which contributed to both remaining goals.
The undisputed moment of the match came close to time as a fine aerial straight from the defensive 16 by Rich Holman bypassed the whole Bristol and West team in their high press. He found Gareth Playfair unmarked who, not for the first time in his career, drifted into the D, decided against sliding the ball to Toby Sampson who was waiting at the far post, instead calmly dispatching the ball into the top left of the net. An end-to-end goal in Tesla-esque speed.
Final score a 5-3 victory for Marlborough.
Marlborough News Online Man of the Match goes to evergreen Keith Radnedge who returning from injury (rather earlier in the game than planned) showed all his class and anticipation in defence, as well as opening his scoring account for the season.
Alex Ford reports on Marlborough Men's Third team away fixture against West Wilts C team:
A cold, wind-beaten day in Warminster with the northerly Somerset wind howling...unsettling the Marlborough confidence.
After a delay-tactic by West Wilts C, Marlborough found themselves facing a cross-section of skilled old-timers and enthusiastic youth. The visitors set up aggressively and aiming for another fine victory - only to realise pretty quickly how vulnerable they were to the well-positioned overhead.
A number of chances were squandered in the first half and Marlborough were caught on the break twice by well taken finishes at pace. Marlborough were on the back foot. As we went into half time Marlborough heads were down, but they had two important elements to remember - they had 80 per cent of the possession in the first half and the best goalie in the league.
Come back time...supported by Phil Gill and his team of defenders the mid-field went to task with waves of attack from Mike Someone, Mark Banham and Dave Patterson Padfield...with Andy Shaw making his mark at times too.
One brilliantly well executed short by Phil Gill and one total fluff by Mark Banham, finished by Harry Strover....again....and Marlborough were level.
Both teams battled for the winning goal, but more stellar defence from Tom Collins kept out the West Wilts attackers while Marlborough tried, but failed to get the third.
It was seen as a good battle back - but a 2-2 draw. Tom Collins was a hero...again.
Marlborough 7 Team Bath Buccs C 0
With Marlborough firsts playing Buccs B team the previous week and winning comfortably, playing their C team who were bottom and with no points so far, this game was a good mental test of respecting every team you play.
Marlborough started strongly, counter attacking well and looking after the ball. They were rewarded with a short corner which was deflected into goal nicely by Charlie Hawley.
Marlborough continued to press high and turning the ball over on numerous occasions, found themselves further ahead going into half time with two goals from Rich Fynn (tap in at the far post and reserve stick strike), one from Will Hughes (tap in) and another from Rich Fynn who nailed a drag flick into the top corner to complete his hat trick: "Awesome finish!!"
5-0 at half time and reportedly the message from the skipper was more of the same, don’t drop off the intensity and look to score more.
However Marlborough listened, but didn’t apply. To their credit, Buccs played deeper and tried to hit Marlborough on the break, Marlborough became frustrated and lost a little bit of shape and couldn’t string two passes together.
They did however manage to score a couple more goals. Firstly, Charlie Hawley smashed in a reverse stick strike into the corner and then Alex Renwick followed up his power strike with a flick over the keeper in the net.
All in all, a good performance. A little scrappy at times, but it was the first half display of good, quick, attacking play that did the damage.
Marlborough.news Man of the Match was Rich Fynn for his superb hat trick.
Ed Watson on Marlborough men's second team defeat at Royal Wootton Bassett:
Royal Wootton Bassett 5 Marlborough Seconds 0
A visit to the sand of high flying Wootton Bassett firsts was perhaps not the birthday treat that Keith Radnedge (or indeed Mrs Radnedge) was imagining.
That being said, after 35 minutes the team had provided Keith with a present worth smiling about - our best team marking performance for many a game.
With a very strong Bassett side, Marlborough set up a disciplined half court press which the home team found very hard to break down. Occasional forays into the opposition half, aided by Rob Hues' aerial threat, gave hope of a counterattacking smash and grab, but Bassett eventually broke the deadlock via a bizarre short corner which ended up bouncing off the apex of bar to be bundled in.
With a quarter of the game to go, 2-0 down felt very respectable, but rather inevitably the superior energy (and bench) of the home team was too much for tired Marlborough legs. A little more space was enough to allow the lead to stretch to five goals by the end of the game.
A hard day, but the general feeling was positive having kept a superior side honest for the majority of the game.
Marlborough.news Man of the Match went to Toby Sampson - for putting in an excellent shift in the midfield press.
Darren Crawford on Marlborough men's third team's away win at Shepton Mallet
Shepton Malllet 0 Marlborough Thirds 2
Marlborough Thirds made the trek to face top of the table Shepton Mallet. They started full of confidence fielding a side with a mix of youth and ‘maturity’.
Marlborough controlled the midfield and it wasn’t long before a precision pass was put through to Chris Newton who drove into the D and scored a superb individual goal lifting it past an out-coming keeper into the left hand corner.
With lots of passing between the midfield and forward line, Marlborough kept control of the game.
It wasn’t long before an interchange of good passing resulted in the ball finding Harry Strover on the left hand post who put the ball away for Marlborough’s second goal.
The second half saw the momentum change - with Shepton on the offensive. Despite the pressure the defence with the 'mature guard' flanked by the youth of Dan Dix and Tom Llewelyn, held firm with no shots on goal.
A well deserved victory overall with some great hockey at times. Marlborough.news Man of the Match was Darren Crawford.