Miss chances give Weston all three points at fortress HQ
By edward simpson
Last minute goal, awarded, then dis-allowed, then final whistle blown awards Weston 1st Xi all three points
The difference between a 1st Xi side and a 3rd Xi side is one of preparation and attitude, with at least six players strolling on to the pitch less than 15 minutes before push back, one of which looked like he had literally just woken up, glancing across to the oppo's warm up and preparation the author of this report couldnt help feeling the first 15-20 minutes of the game would be where this match would be won or lost.
During the warm up, a simple exercise had to be repeated, the first touch was not there, player's after shooting wondered off instead of looking for a deflection, communication was non existent, and as was pointed out at half time the attitude was a key factor.
Sure enough we lost the toss, changed ends, and from the push back we lost possession after I think two touches, from there on we established a long list of errors, too many to go into, not helped by the official who set the benchmark on how he wanted to umpire by giving not one, but 3 green cards (in the second half I am sorry to report but Weston players continually repeated the same offences with no cards, a shoulder barge on Ryan in front of the official minimum yellow, no card, no free hit). Down to 9 men, we allowed a
Weston player to drive into our D, and from four yards out crash ball into the right corner, giving Weston 1-0 lead and the momentum swung temporarily to them.
At this point we started to play our game, dominationg possesion, with wave after wave of attack, excellent work from Phil S who created havoc in Weston D with several good drives up the bye line, but time after time we wasted several good chances to draw level.
At this stage on top, Ritchie K was pinged and a green was issued, this opened the door for a Weston attack, with many of the defense too high up the park, and one in the corner, Weston turned our defenders, several times, and in the D fired a shot into the net past the advancing GK 2-0. Frustration built, excellent hockey on display, with several more opportunities wasted to get one back. We finished the half in total dominance but with no reward.
Findo called it right at half time, refocused and raring to get going, the whistle blew, we are more than able to come back from 0-2 down, and the second half was how we should have started the first 15 minutes, indeed how we should have started at 12.45 at the meet time...
The author is happy to say that in the entire second half did not touch the ball once, defense with Rig, Scott x 3, Mac, Ritchie, Stu, Roly, Heinz cancelling out any and all attacks made by Weston. Switching the attention to the other end, several shorts, endless shots/attacking play, finally saw us rewarded with Roly 'placing' a shot into the right backboard 2-1 - lessons might be learnt from placing a ball and not going for a wonder goal, old is goal!?
RJ, Phil, Ryan, Tom, Ben, created several chances, with some incisive play, well supported by midfield and defense, but try as we might we jusst couldnt find or buy another goal, in the last remaining seconds controversy, TRR scored, the umpire blew his whistle awarding the goal 2-2, a fair result for both sides, on seeking advice from the other umpire, the decsion was made not to award the goal, and then bizarely blew the end whistle.
As Taps said after at the height of frustration, "it doesnt matter, we should have won that game with several wasted changes earlier" and he is spot on, as always.
In this division it will be close, we will have games like this to come, but we must do our best not to lose a match in the warm-up/preparation. Lets bounce back stong V Trinity next Saturday, everyone, early to the pitch, shame or bench those that are late (unless of course a genuine reason), from the whistle be ready to go at them...
I found out after the match that - and this is the point that Heinz will agree with - when we play with 16 we lose matches (we had 19 the night before!), but this is not the case, Findo is rapidly becoming our talisman, when he plays we get points, when he doesnt we lose...!! Cant afford Findo not to play...
Our thanks to Dylan for umpiring, never an easy task, and for the coaching/management.
MOM - Roly, non stop, and a masterclass in how to finish.
DOD's - Those who were late
Jugs - none awarded