Marlborough Mens 1s 3 Bristol University 2s 2
John Berry reports: Coming off the back of a tough but successful weekend of two victories, Marlborough were looking to continue the trend of solid match-play and team work. The game against Bristol Uni 2s (February 23) would be a challenge.
With the majority of their regular midfield missing, and the opposition sitting comfortably four places above them, the Marlborough boys were still in buoyant spirits.
Bristol had beaten Marlborough in the last outing, with a demonstration of pace, fitness, and a huge squad. Marlborough had to defend against these strengths, and find a way to out-smart the students.
Knowing that they would not promote or drop at the end of the season, a new target was set; a positive league end goal difference. Five games remaining, and sitting in the lower half of the league at present, meant the game needed winning.
From the start, Marlborough had Bristol on the back foot, much to the opposition’s surprise. With both the coach and injured captain on the bench giving support and advice, a high rotation in midfield and forward line was maintained, to keep Marlborough as fresh as possible.
The vocal Mark Ramage was the first to score, frustrating the students with his blinding hand speed. Toby Sampson was next on the scoreboard, with a deft touch to see the ball past the keeper, after excellent interplay between the team.
Going into the half at 2-0 was well deserved, however classically Marlborough – come the second half – rested back on their laurels, giving the students the majority of possession and pressure.
The opposition soon converted to make it 2-1. They continued to pile on the pressure, with Marlborough having to defend stoutly, and young Luc Renwick in goal making some superb saves to keep the score line positive for the home team.
Marlborough started to make inroads back into the oppositions half more frequently, with a number of chances going close, finally, again with excellent team work, movement, and passing, the ball was played across the D to the onrushing Ben Spink, who hit the ball into the top corner. Absolutely top class finish with the flat of his stick.
It was a further 15 minutes before the final whistle, and again, Marlborough sat back. Bristol pushed forward, desperate to get a result from the game. With four minutes to play, they eventually slipped a second goal into the net, possibly aided by Marlborough at one point going down to eight players due to poor discipline.
Resolute defending right from the front to the back kept the opposition at bay, to end the game 3-2 in Marlborough’s favour. A cracking, nail-biting victory enjoyed by a crowd basking in the unusual February sun.
Man of the Match was Hamish Fyfe for his awesome work rate, and pressure – creating many of the chances Marlborough enjoyed and converted.
Marlborough Ladies 1s 5 Chippenham Ladies 2s 2
Amy Davidson reports: A slow start from Marlborough led Chippenham to take advantage and score an early goal. This sparked a fire in the Marlborough side and great passing around the back from Beth Palfrey and Emily Carter-Davies saw the ball reach the attacking end of the pitch with excellent skills from Jess Davis, who darted the ball past their midfield.
Awarded a short corner, a skilled deflection from Bella Busby gave Marlborough their first goal. Chloe Darlington performed well as goalkeeper, making crucial saves. Annabel Ashley and Amy Davidson worked hard to run up the sides of the pitch, carrying the ball to the forward players.
Unfortunately, Chippenham scored again. However, Marlborough fought back and the second goal evened the score.
As half time approached, Rachel Cox, Kitty Cleaver and Alice Thompson were running around the Chippenham midfield endlessly looking for more opportunities to get the ball to the Marlborough forwards Milly Dawson, Catherine Manley and Bella Busby.
Entering the second half, Marlborough relaxed but Chippenham still couldn’t get through the defence. Marlborough applied lots of pressure and tight-marking which prevented Chippenham from taking the ball into their attacking half.
A run of short corners awarded to Marlborough resulted in a fantastic goal – Bella Busby’s injection to Beth Palfrey who successfully converted to make the score 3-2.
Throughout the game, Marlborough showed how they play well as a team with simple and easy passes to each other. Marlborough were awarded another short corner, the ball was injected to the top of the D to Rachel Cox who slipped it to Bella Busby on the goal post and deflected it in, as planned. 4-2 to Marlborough.
Marlborough’s final goal came with a Rachel Cox pass from the middle to Kitty Cleaver on the left, which gave her the opportunity to have a shot on goal and with a straight strike from the top of the D the ball hit the backboard with seconds left in the game, giving Marlborough a 5-2 win over Chippenham 2.
Players of the Match went to Rachel Cox and Annabel Ashley with their amazing and consistent play throughout the game.
Salisbury Ladies 6 Marlborough Ladies 2s 0
By Louisa Gostling: This was a game remarkable for its ‘triple sister act’ : Marlborough Ladies 2s set out on this foggy half term morning back to Salisbury hoping for a win.
Having struggled to get the usual team out due to half term, the club pulled in help from the third team – resulting in a rare triple sister act. Tori Williams was joined by younger sister Evie, and Katie McQue by younger sister Alice, and the Sanderson twins Ellie and Immy joined in for good measure.
So despite relatively new team we were hoping that a sister sixth sense would help us towards a win.
Sadly, Marlborough didn’t get the best start, and a succession of three quick goals from Salisbury put us on the back foot, followed by the loss of a ‘fluey Katie King dropping us down to just 10 players.
However, gradually the team found its rhythm with some nice passing up the pitch, and the first half finished 4-0.
The second half started with another early Salisbury goal but then Marlborough fought back.
Tori Williams, Katie McQue and Immy Sanderson worked hard in the middle – with Tori covering every corner of the pitch.
Alice and Verity Langfield made some great runs up front, while Evie, Ellie, Anna Gent and Sarah Kendall were solid in defence. Lou Gostling made lots of saves in goal, but couldn’t keep out a final shot to take the score to 6-0.
A frustrating score, but the team showed lots of promise for the future.