Weekend Report No 19

Posted by Andy Darnley on 6 February 2017

Weekend Report No19 

1s 0 V 1 Bowdon 

Cannock travelled North for a lunchtime pushback against high flyers Bowden in their first League game since the Christmas break. With some players missing and three players making their debut it was always going to be a tough game.  
The game started at a high tempo with the home team applying lots of pressure on the Cannock defense. However, Olympian, Jamie Fair was a rock in the Cannock goal saving short corner after corner. Eventually the pressure told and Bowden scored from open play. 
This seemed to spur Cannock on and the opportunities started to present themselves.  As half time was about to be blown Cannock were awarded a penalty corner. After a moment of scrambled play the ball was in the Bowden net only to be disallowed for a foul. 
The second half saw Cannock hit the post and a defection just go wide of the post.  It wasn't to be Cannock's day although they will gain heart from their performance. The final whistle blew with Bowden winning 1 v 0. Cannock travel further North next week to Preston. 

M of M got to be James Fair 
D of D Minall for going skiing for the rest of the season. 

2s 1 V 11 Birmingham Uni 

6-1 at half time wasn't what Cannock where expecting! The side lost focus very quickly and unforced errors where in a abundance. Traffic was largely one way and the young side where out muscled, ran and thought by the University students. In trying to stop the inevitable flood of goals in the second half Cannock tried to keep the ball but with little success as players made hospital passes all over the pitch. The match finished 11-1with Cannock put in an unusual humiliating position. 

MoM Norwood 
DoD Joiner (green card and scored when obviously we didn't want goals) 

3s 1 V 2 Birmingham University 3s 

Cannock Men's 3s began their testing double header weekend with a short trip to the students of Birmingham looking to extend their unbeaten league run to six games.  
A tough selection week meant the side travelled with the bare 11 players which was always going to make a difficult job even harder.  
Cannock set out to frustrate their hosts and did a really job, reducing the students to half chances while attempting to break through Callum Warren and 3rd team debutants George Collins & Lewis Michael.  
The only goal of the first half came from a short corner right down the middle that eluded keeper  Ollie Balcombe and defender Angus Bulpitt to put Birmingham one up at half time. Cannock fought back in the second half and chances started to come. Andy Hodgetts stole the ball to feed Warren to score equalise for Cannock. This brought the hosts back to life as they searched for a winner, Cannock remained stubborn with Danny Swinnerton playing a crucial role and almost putting Cannock ahead but his effort was saved.  
With five minutes left a crashed ball from a desperate Birmingham managed to find its way to a forward free in the 'D' who scored and sent the students home with a 2-1 victory.  
Cannock may have won nothing but can take great pleasure in how they played. They kept the ball with Bulpitt and Swinnerton in particular using the ball really well. 

DOD - Ollie Balcombe (missed the ball for Brum Uni first goal) 
MOM - Ollie Balcombe (several great saves) 


3s 2 V 1 Notts Uni 

Cannock Men's 3s concluded a tough double header weekend by welcoming the students of Nottingham to Chase Park on Sunday afternoon.  
Cannock had a strong squad of 16 players but several lads had played in the U18s game earlier in the day, so the team needed the extra legs to counter the speed and fitness of the visitors. In the first half Cannock struggled to match the pace of the students, falling a goal behind. However, they managed to go into half time level thanks to Callum Warren's second goal in as many games and days.  At half time the honors were even 1-1 
In the second half Cannock pressed higher and matched Nottingham's speed. The game's intensity increased and the extra legs started to make the difference as Cannock began to create chances. Finally, Aza Wilkes, still coming back from a long term injury, managed to score from a short corner. This gave Cannock the lead that they were able to hang onto thanks to keeper Ollie Balcombe making several keys saves. The hosts took the points to further strengthen their chances of breaking into the top four league positions.  
Next week Cannock welcome strugglers West Bridgford to Chase Park. 

4s 1 V 7 Birmingham Uni 

Cannock 4s entertained Brum Uni 4s, with yet another changed team. Cannock conceded early in the game but fought straight back with a Dave Wigg goal to level the game. Cannock played some great stuff and were able to keep the younger, fitter and faster Uni team at bay. 
Unfortunately the older Cannock side tired in the second half which enable Birmingham to score several goals in a short spell. The game ended 1-7 but Cannock battled hard and showed a lot of promise. They need to keep this going into the next few games and convert effort into points. 
Yet another Uni team awaits next week with an away fixture at Loughborough University. 

DOD - Ollie Southall (dressed like a sailor) 
MOM - Ollie Balcombe (great saves) 

5s 2 V 4 Finchfield 

Player availability and unavoidable late withdrawals unsettled a normally consistent Cannock 5ths in a tough away fixture against Finchfield. Cannock found themselves a goal down after 10 minutes despite making a number of good chances of their own. However, a sustained period of pressure led to 5 consecutive short corners but although none of these were converted, the next attack saw a fine reverse stick strike from Jonny Machin which levelled the score. The game ebbed and flowed until a short corner for Finchfield was saved by the stick of keeper Horn, before being forced in by a Finchfield forward to make it 2-1 at half time. 
The second half saw a loss of discipline by some of the younger players and some desperate hockey from the home side, often just hacking the ball forward in the hope of finding a Finchfield stick. This tactic paid off when a "Hail Mary" pass found a lone forward at the edge of the D with just the keeper to beat, which he did with aplomb. Finchfield forced a series of short corners and eventually forced one home past the grounded keeper to make it 4-1. With nothing to lose, Cannock changed formation and looked threatening. They created several good chances which were kept out by desperate defending until Machin smashed home his second from a short corner. Final score 4-2. 
MoM - Phil Micklewright for running his bollocks off and putting a dangerous opponent in hospital. 
DoD Luke Stacey for the world's worst stick tackle which earned him a green card. 

6s 0 V 3 Stone 

The 6ths travelled to Stone this week to play on their newly laid pitch. With a mixture of senior and young Badger players the 6ths found the new playing surface difficult to play on due to the amount of sand on the pitch with the ball moving slowly and often getting stuck under player's feet. A Cannock debut was given to Matt Bhageerutty, with 6ths debuts for son Oliver, Nathanael Yerbury and Connor Lloyd-Smith who volunteered to be Cannock's keeper for the match. Cannock also welcomed back the experienced Nick Colclough from injury. 
The 6ths started strongly pressing Stone into their half, creating a number of chances but unable to convert them. Stone we always dangerous on the break, and against the run of play, a quick Stone break resulted in the first goal of the match. The match continued in the same vain with the young players working hard to support the experienced players, however just before half-time Cannock failed to clear a short-corner, conceding to make the score 2-0 at half-time. 
The second half continued to be a repeat of the first with Cannock working hard but unable to breach the Stone goal. As the half continued Cannock's legs started to tire leaving gaps for Stone to exploit; ultimately this led to the third goal. 
Cannock didn't give up and during the last 5 minutes of the match pressed Stone back into their half but could not get a goal. The match finished as a 3-0 win to Stone. 
Whilst the result did not go Cannock's way, there was no questioning the performance and the commitment from the 6ths players. 

Badgers 0 V 7 Lichfield 

Cannock's Badgers enjoyed a rare home match against Lichfield. With a number of Badgers players travelling back from Stone with only an hours break between matches, this game was going to be a tough ask of those players. This proved to be the case as Cannock conceded an early goal against confident Lichfield side. 
Cannock tried to get themselves going but the experienced players in the team looked tired after the 6ths game, leaving Badgers debutants of Aaryan Singh and Lewis Asling and the younger Badgers players to turn the game around. This was a big ask and with Lichfield playing a good pass and move game Cannock soon found themselves 5-0 down at half-time and wondering what was going to come in the second half. 
With the half-time team talk focusing on work rate and executing the basics of hockey, the young Badgers were encouraged to compete in the second half, improving on the first half performance. The squad responded and although they conceded a further two goals Cannock created a number of chances and tested the Lichfield keeper on a few of occasions. 
A final score of 7-0 is not something that the Badgers squad is used to, however there were many lessons learnt and everyone is hoping for a better performance and outcome from next week's match. 
MOM - Connor Lloyd-Smith - making his debut in goal! 
DOD - Andy Hoare 

U14s 3 V  3 Derwent 

Cannock's U14 Boys played their next round of U14 Development League matches at Ashbourne this Sunday, with games against Derwent and then Burton. The matches are 7-a-side playing 20 minutes each way. Previously Cannock have played 5 games with 4 wins and 1 loss; we were hoping for another 2 wins today. 
Cannock started well against Derwent forcing a couple of good saves from the Derwent keeper, however Derwent were a good side and were soon making Cannock defend deep in their half. Derwent pressure forced the first goal of the game. Cannock responded by driving forward and soon found the equaliser. Cannock's continued pressure saw them take the lead, however Derwent weren't out of the game and just on the stroke of half-time scored an equaliser to make it 2-2. 
The second half was very even with both teams battling it out in midfield, the defenses remaining resolute and the keepers making some good saves. Cannock eventually found a way through to take a 3-2 lead, however Derwent scored a scorching third goal to level the match. Final score, a well deserved 3-3 draw for both teams. 
U14s 5 V 4 Burton 

Cannock's second game was against Burton. Looking to improve on the result of the first game and aiming to use the width of the pitch Cannock wanted a win to put the disappointment of the draw against Derwent behind them. Cannock started badly though and soon found themselves a goal down and finding it difficult to get into the game. Playing a narrow game and continually giving the ball away Cannock conceded a second goal. A bit of individual flare from Evan Alcock reduced the deficit to 2-1 at half-time although Cannock still weren't firing on all cylinders. 
The second half saw a battling performance from Cannock moving quickly from 2-1 down to 3-2 ahead. Burton weren't out of the game though and worked hard to draw the score line level. With the game opening up, Cannock scored another to make it 4-3 only for Burton to draw level again. Cannock didn't give up and with a few minutes remaining Cannock took the lead and managed to defend their goal through to the final whistle to record a 5-4 win. 
Battling performances from Cannock U14s saw them come from behind twice to earn a draw and a win, but it could so easily have been two wins if they had converted one or more of their 15 short corners - something to work on in training before the next U14 matches at the end of March. 

U18s 3 V 1 Neston (Cup) 

The Cannock boys made a good start but Neston soon got into their stride, putting the home team under pressure in the centre of the park.  Neston struggled to capitalise on this period of pressure and conceded a short corner. With the drag flick heading for the top left corner and the keeper well beaten, an outstretched Neston defender managed to block the almost certain first goal. As Cannock continued their pressure another short was conceded by Neston.  The incoming shot was cleared but Jamie Greenwood was on hand to send the ball into the back of the Neston net, giving Cannock a deserved 1 nil lead. 
Neston restarted with more vigor and quickly got into the Cannock D, putting the home team under concerted pressure, resulting in a short corner to Neston. After a quick discussion by the Neston team, a low flick was fired to the right, only to be intercepted at the top of the D by Callum McKenzie, bravely running out to clear the incoming shot. Cannock regrouped after this, and continued to ply pressure in the Neston D, culminating in a shot from Conrad Willars beating the Neston keeper, to take Cannock  2 up at half time. 
At the restart, Neston clearly changed their game play, putting Cannock under pressure from the start. A shot fired hard from top D was well saved by outstretched Cannock keeper Connor Beardmore. The saved ball was cleared away by the Cannock defense only to hit a foot on the way out. After a retaken short corner, their second shot was fired in high to the diving keepers right and although he managed to get a stick on the ball, the pace was too much and the ball hit the back of the net. With a resurgent Neston sensing a draw was on the cards, they continued to press hard only for Cannock to break free and Danny Swinnerton-Ions to slot home the winning goal. 
3 -1 the final score to Cannock Under 18’s. Next match to meet local rivals Telford away on the 19th February in the quarter finals. 


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