Romsey Men’s 1st XI 4 – 2 Salisbury Men’s 1st XI
Romsey made the trip to face fellow Hants/Surrey Div 2 struggler Salisbury and deservedly returned with the points after a solid albeit workmanlike performance. Striker Lewis Birch continued his red hot form and led from the front with another man of the match display. The result underlines Romsey’s status as the in form side of the division as they have recovered from a painfully slow first half of the season to register 13 points from the last possible 18.
Salisbury created relatively few chances in open play but were a constant threat from the numerous penalty corners won through the match, and Lozz Scott in goal made an excellent diving save low to the right to deny an early such set piece. After the initial period of home side pressure, Romsey moved onto the front foot and had plenty of possession in and around the Salisbury area, but had nothing to show for it as they struggled to execute their own penalty corner routines.
Salisbury were getting in trouble with the officials for repeated stick tackling and inevitably paid the price midway through the half as one of their number picked up a sin-binning. This should have been the moment for Romsey to lay siege to the Salisbury area yet the visitors responded very poorly to the man advantage, as loose passing in the midfield gave up possession too easily and the home side looking increasingly dangerous when they broke quickly.
From one such raid they earned a penalty corner and converted it with a low flick that was partially blocked by a touch from Scott’s stick, but still had enough momentum to find the goal. Romsey responded positively and finally made a penalty corner effort of their own count as the pace of Joe Welch’s dragflick left the ‘keeper floundering.
On the stroke of halftime Romsey gained a vital lead after breaking from deep, though the promising run of Birch was cut short by a crude bodycheck. The visitors did not let this disrupt their momentum however, quickly gathering the ball for Birch to pass the free hit to David Edwards. The midfielder spun and played a ball around the corner to meet the excellent looping run of Birch, who drove at the area and drilled a deadly low shot into the far corner.
Romsey were guilty of putting themselves under unnecessary pressure at the start of the second half, at times being slow to work the ball out from deep in their half and enabling Salisbury to press them in. The visitors survived some penalty corner opportunities and then extended their advantage when Jack Forrest-Charde drove to the right outside the area and slipped a cute underarm pass to find Birch’s opposing angled run in the ‘D’. He sized up the passing possibilities and opted instead for a finish that nutmegged the GK.
Romsey settled into a nice rhythm and for a while spread the ball around well to take the sting out of the game, spending plenty of time in the Salisbury half, aided by the home side again spending five minutes with a man in the sin-bin after another accumulation of stick tackles. Once restored to eleven, Salisbury got back in the game with a goal very similar to their first, winning a penalty corner that was scored in spite of a deflection from the ‘keeper’s stick.
The prospect of giving up a precious potential victory for the second week in a row perhaps played on Romsey’s minds as they looked decidedly shaky in the following minutes and had to defend a couple more penalty corners.
The visitors remained a threat going forward however and the home side could not deal with Birch’s incisive runs. He sliced the defence open after receiving the ball on the run and beat the two defenders close by with his pace, but missed out on a brilliant solo effort to seal a hat trick after going wide of the advancing ‘keeper as his push from a narrow angle drifted wide of the unguarded goal.
With less than a minute remaining the visitors won a penalty corner and added gloss to their victory as the ball was slipped right and Birch lifted the ball over the GK and into the net to complete his hat trick.
With other results in the league favouring them, the abbey side leap up to fourth from bottom and there is another basement battle to come as the side below them, Old Kingstonian, visit Romsey next week.

Gallery Glimpse
dsc07809 dsc07811 2010-12-12-hockey-xmas-funday-029 img_0187-rhc_8
Free Sitemap Generator