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Juniper double helps Stratford over the line





Stratford Ladies 1sts 3, Bridgnorth Ladies 1sts 2

STRATFORD faced Bridgnorth in a relegation battle at the foot of Division Two South and it was the home side who came out on top to end a run of three straight defeats.

A hard fought, end-to-end first half ended goalless but Stratford upped the pressure right from the start of the second period with the defensive line pushing well into the attacking 25. They broke the deadlock when a pass from Hayley Phillip into the left post found Rachel Kent who deflected it past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Stratford drew confidence from scoring and play opened up with some excellent link passing involving everyone on the pitch.

Action from Stratford Ladies v Bridgnorth on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson
Action from Stratford Ladies v Bridgnorth on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson

Midfield debuts from Mira Procter and Georgie Poulton contributed to the attacking play with Gracie Gibbons, Abi Juniper, Milly Vitty and Simone McKee working tirelessly to keep up the pressure and create more scoring chances.

Emma Hyatt passed a line ball up to Procter who quickly moved the ball to Juniper whose shot from the top of the D was placed perfectly into the bottom left corner.

The next goal was set up by Gibbons who dribbled into the D and passed over the sticks of two defenders to Juniper who glanced the ball into the bottom right corner for her second of the game.

Bridgnorth never lost sight of the possibility of three points and pushed hard to reduce their three-goal deficit. They scored scored twice but the Stratford defence of Kiki Dhillon, Phillip, Emma Hyatt, Zara Dhillon, Emily Capaldi and Sandra Leary held firm, keeping further attacks from the visitors at bay to secure the vital three points.

Action from Stratford Ladies v Bridgnorth on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson
Action from Stratford Ladies v Bridgnorth on Saturday. Photo: Mark Williamson

Stratford Men’s 4ths 9, Kingswinford 3rds 0

IT WAS clear even during the warm-ups that Stratford were the better prepared to continue their fine form and they took the attack to a lackadaisical Kingswinford team straight from the opening whistle.

The goals soon began to flow with left-back Chris Pearce popping up unexpectedly to show a striker’s instinct not once but twice with neat deflections into goal from incisive passes, first from Mark Reynolds and then George Holloway.

Stratford’s hockey was high tempo and the young attacking pair of Will Marriott and Harry Spicer got in on the goalmouth action themselves whilst Josh Bolderston and Harry Davies showed their skills to pose a constant threat to a defensive line that remained constantly on the back foot.

Matt With Cooke adding to the score at a short corner, a resounding six- goal lead was in the bag at half-time.

After the break, Stratford continued to threaten although the goals slowed up with a number of chances failing to drop. The defence were rarely placed under pressure but when they were, Jules Van Vegchel, Sam Bentall and White were more than equal to the task.

Stratford continued to pass the ball around, combining pace up front with composure in midfield and it was no surprise that further goals came from another Cooke set-piece and a Holloway penalty stroke.

A red card for one of the Kingswinford players added to their woes and the hosts capitalised with defender Pearce completing an unlikely, but well deserved hat-trick.

Injured skipper David Price commended the team for their work rate and composure whilst on-field captain Sam Bentall said: “Everyone should take great credit for keeping their heads and allowing our quality to shine through in what was a convincing win.”



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