Hockey: First team back on the winning trail

AEHC v Formby.2

High flying Formby were the visitors to The Edge, as the Men's first team continued their North Premier campaign. After tasting defeat for the first time since early November last time out they were looking for an improved display. From the start the quality of the game was much improved.

The Formby keeper had to sweep behind his defence on a couple of occasions to keep the Alderley Edge attack at bay early on.

Formby then showed their attacking prowess and James Riley in the Alderley goal was forced to make a couple of scrambling saves.

As the game evened out Whitehead showed he was still in good defensive form quashing many attacks and keeping Formby's attack fairly quiet, supported well by Mattingly.

Parr in the midfield was showing a return to form tenaciously getting involved in the midfield and trying to bring the forwards to life, with Sam Gregory more involved following a slightly subdued showing last week, he linked well with Kay up the right. Ben Gregory was Alderley's most dangerous player keeping the Formby defence honest.

The opening goal of the game came when Alderley won a penalty corner and this resulted in several back-to-back and at the fourth time of asking a smart routine lead to Frankie Bryant converting.

It was then the turn of Formby to show their prowess from penalty corners, which Alderley and particularly Raj Kay defended well. When they did produce a clever routine Riley managed to tip the shot over the bar.

The second half was played at a slightly higher tempo with both teams looking forward. Sanders busied in the middle of the park and Coxon added life to the front line, half chances came but no serious threat to either goal.

Formby then turned up the pressure and won more penalty corners and eventually they found the equaliser with a switch routine that lead to a solid flick into the bottom corner.

Alderley weathered the storm for the next few minutes and created opportunities themselves. When Cresey's driving run down the left from inside his own half to the edge of the Formby D lead to several rash challenges Alderley once again had a penalty corner chance. A change of personnel allowed Frankie Bryant the chance at the top of the circle and his flicked shot took a deflection off a defender and gave Alderley the lead.

Wildig had a scrambled opportunity which was smothered by the keeper, who picked up a shoulder injury. Whitehead had a spell in the sin-bin when he misjudged the bounce of an aerial pass, Formby began to run more with the ball with the extra space, but Alderley held firm.

In an end-to-end encounter Gregory was unlucky that his break away and cross into the D did not find an Alderley stick. Mattingly was unfortunate to miss the last five minutes as he was yellow carded for hitting the ball away after the whistle.

Formby created one final chance from another penalty corner, but Riley turned the effort around the post and Alderley ran out 2-1 victors.

Once again the stars of the weekend were the talented 7th team. Featuring mainly junior graduates they also fielded a couple of young debutants and ran up a phenomenal Men's club record 20-0 victory, with 19 of the goals coming from players aged 14 or under. Morgan Jennings (5), William Hedley (5), Charles Whittaker (3), Greg Johnson (3), Charles Barnes (2), Daniel Crawford and senior player Jed Hassid were the goal scorers.

The second team travelled to top of table Lancaster and were unfortunate to lose, Andrew Wood grabbing Alderley's opener. At one all Harry Whitehead was clean through on goal, went around the keeper and was upended. Alderley expected a penalty stroke however no decision was made. At one stage Alderley were down to eight men as the umpires began to clamp down. Oli Wildig got the slightest of touches to a cross to keep Alderley in the game but to no avail as the final score was 3-2.

The 3s were not at their best against Timperley seconds going down 4-0.

The 4s slipped up in their promotion chase losing one nil to Oxton.

The Fifth team very much still in the hunt with a 1-0 win over Bebington, and look to be involved in a three way chase for the two promotion spots.

The much changed 6s slipped up at Wilmslow 3s, losing six nil.

Match report by Ben Whitehead.

Alderley Edge Hockey Club, Hockey