Hockey: Run of good form ends with defeat at Oxton


Alderley Edge Men's first team avoided the troublesome weather as they travelled to the Wirral to face Oxton in the North Premier division.

Alderley were on a good run of form, having picked up maximum points in their last 5 games.

Oxton had an early flurry towards the Alderley goal, but fairly soon into the game Alderley began to get a foothold in the game and started to mount pressure on the Oxton defence. Bryant was industrious in the middle and Kay was able to support play down the right hand side. Despite territorial advantage the cutting edge was lacking and Alderley did not create any clear cut chances, with the last pass either being well defended or missing its intended target.

The best chance fell to Simon Parr who advanced to meet the ball unmarked at the back of the D only to fire his shot over the bar. Joe Coxon was then clean through when a fine aeriel pass picked out his run but it was not to the Umpire's liking.

Play was ragged and the quality fairly low, with Alderley allowing the Oxton deep lying players a little too much time. Whilst the defence of Whitehead, Mattingly and Cresey were on the whole able to cope with what was being thrown at them.

Further attacks came and went for Alderley and they were punished when, following a long corner, Oxton built up possession in the attacking third and they took the lead when the ball eventually fell to a free player in the D who produced a good flicked finish.

Alderley were soon two down when Sanders was put under pressure in his own 'D' and was tackled with the Oxton forward able to find a finish over the 'keeper. Oxton also hit the post soon after.

Strong words at half time left Alderley in no doubts what was required, however they got off to a terrible start when an aeriel ball into a group of players was brought down by the Oxton forward who broke through a couple of challenges to cross, which picked out a team mate first time deflection finish.

Alderley soon bounced back and Sam Gregory began stretching play and creating opportunities, Ben Gregory had a reverse stick effort well saved and several melees around the Oxton goal came to nothing.

The game became more intense and scrappy with neither side able to exert control. Both sides were awarded penalty corners and Alderley defended well and at the other end a smart routine lead to Alderley getting back into the game when Frankie Bryant showed composure to produce a well executed flicked finish.

From Alderley's next corner McCormick saw his effort saved but the rebound struck an Oxton player and from his next attempt he made no mistake beating the 'keeper.

As time was running out Ben Gregory intercepted a pass and bore down on goal, he rounded the 'keeper, but a moment of hesitancy deciding to shoot or pass allowed a defender to get back and he got a touch to deflect the ball to safety and the game finished 3-2.

The other Alderley Edge teams to beat the weather were victorious, the 3rd team had a convincing 5-1 win against Oxton which leaps them up the table and the 5s had a pleasing 2-0 win against fellow promotion chasing Bowdon.

The younger members were able to play their games and the Badgers faced a combined side from Wilmslow and Macclesfield and in a very open game Alderley Edge ran out 3-1 winners, Josh Benton grabbed two and Charlie Whittaker scored with a fine strike.

The Beavers beat Macclesfield 2-1 and the Edgehogs beat Wilmslow 6-0. A special mention is deserved for goalkeeper Ben Jagger who turned out for all three teams and was outstanding throughout.

Match report by James Riley.

Alderley Edge Hockey Club, Hockey