Fouldsey is my hero
By Steve Arch
Wookey sees red
Another week, another game, this time the three's being asked to go all the way to Farnham for a 4pm pushback against a top 3 team, Aldershot and Farnham.
We arrived in dribs and drabs, high from the wins of the last few weeks, and wanting more.
Talk before the game was to stay strong, close them down, make our lives easy and don't give them time to settle on the ball.
We did start well, closing them down, and making them move the ball, creating opportunities and but we still fell behind.
The Aldershot and Farnham movement off the ball allowed them time to create space, and they took full advantage to move the ball behind the Southampton defence and slot it in the corner past Kirby to take the lead.
We didn't let this get us down though, and fought straight back.
A run into the 25 by Wookey, slipped to Fouldsy who had a poor lifted shot which landed to Ship at the back post to tap in. 1-1 and still fighting.
Unfortunately, we didn't then capitalise on our momentum to take the lead.
Despite the hard work of our midfield, and our defence working well as a unit, with Tom joining Cotton in central defence, although they were strong and made tackles, they couldn't put a lid on their most skilful player, who was able to create space and move the ball on keeping the space to look up, we then slipped first 1 and then 2 goals behind, with A and F slowly taking domination.
We had various chances to get the goal, moving the well down the right through Ryan and Nick, and using Archie as a pivot to move the ball across the pitch to Si and Adey on the left.
Finally, just before half time, we pulled one back.
Nick and John Humphries combining with Ship to get the ball to Archie, and, as the keeper slid out, he calmly flicked it past him and into the open net.
Going into the half time team talk, we knew we still could fight and get ourselves on top, by improving where we were lacking and continuing to push hard.
We decided to close out their play maker, which the forward was allocated to do, to make it harder to allow them to move the ball, and also to make sure we were 5 yards closer when marking, giving them less time on the ball to look up.
With the light failing, and the weather turning to torrential rain, it was hard to see across the pitch, and certain players were affected more than others.
However, the game must go on, and we continued to scrap and fight, marking closer, giving them less time on the ball and hassling more.
Ryan, who tackled strongly throughout, moved the ball to the ever calling Nick, who, after moving the ball a few yards, moved it onto
Although the second half ended with them scoring 2 more goals, we felt we had really done what we aimed to and that even the Aldershot and Farnham players were saying after the game that it was a real battle.
However, the issue we had in the 2nd half was that we did not score enough.
We did create numerous opportunities through short corners and open play, which was great to see, and easily could have scored 2 or 3 more if the ball had run our way, but only managed to pick up one more.
The ball was moved through the defence and midfield to Archie, who hammered the ball into the D for Fouldsy to get a nick on and divert to the keepers right making it 5-3.
We also had a signature move from Cotton, who, passed to their centre forward, but, thankfully the central defensive partnership was strong when Tom came to his rescue and closed their forward down immediately and smothered their opportunity.
We also made our lives a lot more difficult in this half, with 2 players receiving green cards, one for disagreeing with the umpire, and the other for tackles the umpire considered to be too strong, along with finishing the game with only 10 men and maybe if these things hadn't happened, we could have really pushed to get goals to level proceedings.
We won short corners, which were saved on the line, and had their keeper on his toes and diving, so feel that although we only scored 1, we definitely had the best of the 2nd half.
We still need to learn to be a bit faster moving the ball on, to only call when we are able to receive the ball, to have a pivot option available at all times, and to consider when to use a quick ball from free hits and 16's, but overall we go into the Christmas break knowing that the hockey we are playing has improved as the season has developed, and we can take a lot of positive into 2019.
DOD went to Alex Wookey, who despite playing with passion, allowed his emotions out
MOM went to Ryan Pollard, who had a strong game and made the lives of their forwards very difficult by not allowing them time to settle.
Special mention to Tom, solid as a centre back, and Patrick, flexible and skilful, stepping in and helping, both of whom played well and helped both strengthen the team, and create time and opportunity for those around them.