A tale of two halves. In the first half we looked like a team that was going to take Hampstead all the way. With the half-time score at 6-3 to Hampstead we were in touch and an early goal would give us the momentum. However our 2nd half display seemed to lack the confidence to take the initiative. In turn we gave up possession too easily and any Premiership team, given 90% of the ball, will score goals. A team like Hampstead with danger players strung across the midfield and attack was going to enjoy that.
A second half scoreline of 8-1 (to Hampstead) is no disaster. We did not leave the pitch wanting to slash our wrists as we kept up the fight and energy all game. We fielded a large squad, our biggest for a few seasons, and as well as good numbers, there’s strength in depth. Every player got decent game time and every player could do the job asked of them. That’s a real positive for the season ahead.
At the back we were busy. The Hampstead attacking lines move very well off the ball and create space for their 3 or 4 shooters. The majority of their goals came from +10 yards out. That’s a credit to their shooting ability and our solid defence that kept them on the outside for most of the game.
The game was physical but not in a nasty way. Some big hits rained in, pick of the bunch was Mike Goodman on the Hampstead #9 (Dave ‘Wavey’ Leach). An almost perfectly timed cruncher that broke Mike’s helmet in the process. Referee Simon Peach was consistant throughout, so Mike did spend some time in the box for that one.
Everyone deserves a shout this week as the entire squad contributed. I’ll just mention Colin Byrne in goal who blocked and deflected a number of Hampstead rockets.
Bring on Reading (Away) next weekend.
Colin Byrne, Matt Blom, Mike Goodman, Jesse Churchward, Rob Gooch, Alan Keeley (1 goal), Dan Hughes, Colin Rutter, Jeff Schaper, Peter Sayia (1), Anthony Dawson, Matt Osgood, Arun Anandasegar, Glen Gardener, Alex Lee, Toby Thompson, Will Walker, Mark Davies, Alex Eble (2) & Andrew Mottershead