It was a win, a draw and a loss for The Hornet’s last weekend, with the ‘A’ Team leading by example.
The ‘A’ Team took on local rivals Patchway North End in a game that always involves drama. The pitch at the Jubilee Centre survived an early pitch inspection on Saturday morning, but a torrential downpour immediately prior to kick-off meant that conditions were far from ideal. The A Team made a bright start and dominated possession. After 21 minutes they got the reward for their play when a Patchway defender turned Adam Townsend’s cross into his own net. The lead was doubled on 40 minutes when in-form striker Paul Zambrzycki scrambled Dan Corrick’s header into the net. However, with their only attack of the first half, Patchway found a way back into the game when they capitalised on a defensive error to pull a goal back just before half-time. As the playing conditions worsened in the second half, the game died out as a spectacle and this suited Patchway’s “route-one” style of play. One of the few highlights of the half was a rasping 25-yard drive from Bradley Stoke’s Chris Hughes that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar. Despite some pressure from Patchway in the closing minutes, Bradley Stoke’s defence dealt with the pressure relatively comfortably and the home side held on for a 2-1 win. Man of the Match was midfielder Chris Hughes – who now has the impressive record of having received the award in both of his first two games for the club.
Andy Hurrell’s late volley ensured the 1st Team continued their recent unbeaten form against rivals De Veys. A resurgent second half performance after a sloppy first half secured a point for John Welsh’s First Team. Welsh’s selection hand was forced in part due to numerous injuries and absences with Craig Potter, Stuart Pyett, Matt Hull and Nick Favell all unavailable. He started with Lucas Entoundi and Shadrack Asimeng upfront, with Brad Clark, Ed Linsdale, Andy Turner and Adam Sykes supporting from the midfield. At the back, last week’s finishing four started this week, with Ben Osborne partnering Andy Troke in the centre, with Andy Hurrell and Tom Osborne at full back and Nathan Corney in goal. The Hornets started the game on the back foot, and De Veys enjoyed lots of possession and chances early on. Stand in keeper Corney kept the home side at bay with some fantastic saves, including one from a point blank range header, which he stopped on the line. The deadlock was broken half an hour in however, and Corney could do nothing about the finish after the De Vays winger muscled his way into the area before finishing well.
There were some half chances for The Hornets in the first half, with Clark, Asimeng and Sykes all trying their luck to no avail. Before the break, De Veys should have increased their lead with numerous chances, but The Hornets rode their luck, and were grateful to hear the whistle for half time. Following stern words and some changes at the break, Andy Horne came on to replace Hurrell with Ben Osborne moving to right back and Horne coming on at the back. This gave The Hornets some additional structure and width, and the football soon began to flow, with Linsdale and Clark at the heart of all The Hornets play. Chances soon began to present themselves, with the best one falling to Sykes, after he muscled his way in front of a defender only to see his shot saved well.
With The Hornets in the ascendency, Welsh introduced Sam Chillcott to the game, and Hurrell returned to the pitch in his more familiar wide right position. It was from the wide right position that The Hornets looked most threatening, with mutiple crosses troubling the De Veys defence. The deserved equalising goal came from a typical Bradley Stoke set piece. Ben Osbourn’s long throw from the right hand side was flicked on by the ever dominant Linsdale, and volleyed home by Hurrell, who timed his run to perfection. The draw continues The Hornet’s recent return to form, and there were a lot of positives to take from a very accomplished second half display. The next test for Welsh is against bottom of the league Miners, who have yet to pick up a point this season. Welsh will be hoping his team will be able to make it four unbeaten games in a row when they welcome the Miners to the Nest.
It was not a good result for The Reserves however, despite enjoying large spells of possession and creating numerous chances against Talbot Knowle Reserves. The Reserves succombed to a 2-0 defeat which leaves them towards the bottom of the table, however they have only played four games and have some games in hand against the teams near them in the table.
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