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Todd's tactics take terrific 2's back into title tussle.

28 January 2017, 13:30, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 2s 4 - 2 Maidenhead Men's 1s

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Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

With the chief chum choosing to take the weekend off the 2's faced Maidenhead 1's in a critical home game which could define the chums season. In our first encounter away at Maidenhead we had been a tad fortunate to steal a 3 - 2 win coming back from 2-1 down. The game had been notable for the debut of the player formerly known as Charlie Firth who had or hadn't played for Beeston - who knows. Whatever - that episode has become the stuff of legend in a season not short of extraordinary incidents.

The minute maestro had left no instructions as to selection, strategy or tactics and had boycotted midweek training. Fortunately the vast majority of the squad had made the effort to attend on a bitterly cold evening while he was enjoying fairy stories tucked up in bed.

Training focussed on the straightforward concept of scoring goals. Simple really. Don't set me off again but regular readers of this correspondent will recall that in a previous report he claimed that hockey is a simple game. Refreshing therefore to hear our new coach declaim that you get the ball in the circle and onto the penalty spot and that's how you score - goals will come. Indeed nobody has ever scored a goal at hockey by playing the ball around in their own half. Astonishingly it has never happened.

So the chums decided on Saturday that this radical strategy was worth a punt. I say that we made that decision but, in truth, we only implemented it in the second half. By then Maidenhead were already 2-0 up thanks again principally to Hawks alumnus, Aqeel Hussein, who had a lot of fun in the first half at the chums expense. In fact Maidenhead went 2-0 ahead within 15 minutes and must have thought they were coasting to a comfortable win.It sure as hell looked that way from the sideline.

However the 2's seem to respond well to the prospect of calamitous defeat. Dan Andrews dragged the chums back into contention with a short corner before half time and there was an air of optimism at the interval which, to be fair, seemed not to be entirely justified by the events of the first 35 minutes.

A call to our absent chief elicited the unhelpful response that he was already bladdered at the family wedding he was required to attend, so, without further independent guidance, we decided it might be an idea to try and venture more frequently into opposition territory after the break.

To cut a long story short it worked treat -  as our Australian mentor had suggested it might. Maidenhead defended deeper and deeper and once Dan Andrews had repeated his short corner routine successfully it looked as though there could only be one winner. Stotty consistently created havoc running at defenders to great effect and in the last 5 minutes the chums sealed the deal with open play goals from Matt Laidmann and Jack Knight to give the scoreline a slightly flattering edge.

The chums were justifiably well pleased with their second half performance and the three points - the visitors clearly stunned by the outcome but gracious in defeat. A good win over one of the best sides in the Division and a victory which gives the chums every chance of staying in the title race. All the more satisfying as the game was witnessed by our antipodean leader.

Take my advice if you want to score get in the opposition's circle - it works.

Thanks Todd.

 

MoM - can someone tell me please

 

DoD  - I've no idea

 

Paddy and Wardy's wine of the week - not awarded in the unacceptable absence of the chief chum.

 

 

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