Sunday, 17 February 2013

Glassboys Too Brittle as Tudors WIn Away

The ground rules are clearly listed (you see what I did there?)

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 16 February 2013 at the War Memorial Athletic Ground
Stourbridge 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 3
Southern Premier League
507 on the lifetime list – here because of the chance to combine with a British Basketball League fixture at Worcester (see next post) and because it is one of my step 3 priority hopping grounds.  10 to go at this level now!
Pre-match preparation
3rd plays 2nd in the division – the visitors have the most prolific attack in the league and the hosts have the meanest defence.  A draw would suit leaders Leamington who are opening a bit of a gap – a win for either side keeps a title challenge alive.
This match in one sentence
Not as close as the scoreline suggests – the Stourbridge goals were very late in the game and Hemel ought to have seen it out more comfortably after they did the hard work in the first half.
So what?
Hemel are now six points clear of Stourbridge but will be between five and eleven behind Leamington (who also won today) once the fixtures have caught up.
The drama unfolds
This is a ground full of character and characters and I took up a position behind the goal being attacked by Stourbridge as they made the early running.  They are in red and white stripes, and who knows what would have happened if the chance from my scene-setter clip had gone in instead of rattling the bar.  Sean Geddes with the shot, says today's NLP.

That was after 11 minutes, and they had two more half-chances while Hemel resorted to “route one”.  Both sides had penalty appeals turned down.  It was Hemel, however, who got the vital first goal – they broke through with Alex Campana down their left and it looked from the other end to be an easy finish for Dave Pearce as the ball was turned across the middle.  0-1 after 26 minutes

The second was scored by Moussa Diarra only 10 minutes later.  Again, from the other end of the ground it looked to be a very straightforward goal.  0-2 after 36 minutes
Diarra went off injured before half-time but there was no further incident of note.  0-2 at half-time
I moved to the other end of the ground for the second-half.  Stourbridge were certainly fired-up and started strongly, forcing two early corners, one of which needed Ashley Timms to be alert in the visitors’ goal.  Here are a couple of clips from this stage of the game, the first of which also pans across to the cricket field and pavilion that explains why this is a distinctive three-sided ground.

However, it was Hemel who got the killer third goal just before the hour.  From the other end it looked like the defensive line had been broken in a central position after a poor clearance and it was an easy rolled finish for Ryan Charles as the keeper came out.  0-3 after 58 minutes
Stourbridge wasted a set-piece, given for a foul on the far side, as shown here.

Then their number 9, Luke Benbow, was crowded out from a good position and it was not until 79 minutes that substitute  Drew Canavan was given space to be able to curl in a neat right-footer from just outside the box.  This felt like a consolation goal.  1-3 after 79 minutes
It then became a bit tense – there was an off-the-ball incident that sent a Stourbridge player into incandescent rage.  I can’t comment any further as I was too far away to see exactly what happened.  It then got tenser for a few moments as a low driven cross-cum-shot from the right was deflected just inside the post.  Ben Billingham has been given the goal credit.  2-3 after 90 minutes
There was time for a couple of “Oooooh!” moments from Stourbridge set pieces before the final whistle, and for the lino to send the ref to have a word with the home dugout.  This is still a good result for Hemel.  These sides may yet have to face up to each other again in the end of season playoffs.  Final score 2-3

The programme

Hopping for Moorfields Update
Five goals for the season takes us up to 150, so the penny-a-goal pledges stand at £1.50 each, and they should be worth about £2.40-£2.50 at the end of the season.  Still about the same as the price of a pint, and to be fair very slightly more than the pre-match Banks’s sampled in the excellent clubhouse so I could top up my Midlands heritage.
Mars Bar Watch 2013
A standard 58g bar served from the fridge for 60p.  Standard.
What Next?
A short hop to the University of Worcester where Worcester Wolves are hosting London Lions in the British Basketball League in about two hours time... post to follow!  After that, well it is half-term so anything could happen.  Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter and be among the first to know.

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