M1 Match Reports

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 3 – 9 Haslemere Men’s 1st XI

League leaders Haslemere underlined their status as comfortably the best side in the division by dispatching Romsey by a large margin for the second time this season.

As in the previous meeting between the sides, Haslemere impressed with their creation of space with persistent leading by players off the ball. This combined with slick exchanges of passes in the final third of the pitch to open up the hosts numerous times and the visitors scored several times in the first half by meeting crosses from the baseline at the back post.

Haslemere also posed a threat from penalty corners, and whilst Lozz Scott in goal did a good job dealing with the direct attempts from the top of the area, Romsey struggled to deal with the more intricately worked routines.

Romsey restored some pride by getting on the scoresheet when Ben Mullan drove the ball from midfield and looked to find Jack Forrest-Charde in the area. His deflection was kept out by the ‘keeper but Lewis Birch was on hand to claim the loose ball and put it in the net.

The second half was a more even affair with Romsey getting a second goal from a penalty corner when Forrest-Charde’s pass to the back post eluded attackers and defender alike to go straight in.

The hosts also scored arguably the goal of the game when Ben Butcher’s quick thinking saw him launch a long aerial from halfway on the left touchline to the edge of the area on the opposite side of the pitch. Chris Mason was rewarded when he gambled on the defender under it failing to control the ball and finished with a rocket of a strike high into the net.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 1 – 3 Yateley Men’s 1st XI

Romsey’s mid-season slump continued as a poor performance saw them fall to a third straight defeat, with lowly Yateley giving a good account of themselves to earn a win that lifts them out of the bottom two in the table.

The game began at a frantic pace with the play short on both quality and structure, with hosts Romsey in particular failing to settle in to the match as they frequently squandered possession trying to rush the ball forward in attack.

The visitors took the lead from a penalty stroke that was awarded and duly converted when a shot was blocked on the line by a defender’s body after the ball was worked down the right channel and squared from the baseline.

Romsey earned some penalty corners but could not execute effectively, with good pressure being applied by the Yateley runners closing down the top of the area quickly.

In contrast, the visitors were able to convert two set pieces of their own in the second half, firstly with a rising drag-flick and then a neatly taken deflection routine in front of the back post.

In between these two goals, Romsey gave themselves hope as Joe Welch drove the ball forward before finding Neil Strong in the area, whose square pass was diverted between the ‘keeper’s legs by a diving Jack Forrest-Charde.

Romsey must now attempt to regroup and give a better showing when league leaders Haslemere visit next week.

London Academicals Men’s 1s 3 – 1 Romsey Men’s 1s

Romsey ended the first half of the season with a disappointing performance and a deserved defeat away at one of their rivals for promotion.

The hosts were the better side early on with their movement up front causing Romsey’s press plenty of problems. Academicals won several penalty corners and it took good interventions from goalkeeper Lozz Scott and centreback David Edwards respectively to deny the first two set pieces.

Romsey came close with a routine of their own but the runners looking for a deflection failed to connect with Jack Forrest-Charde’s pass just beyond the back post.

Academicals returned to the attack and converted a third penalty corner with a low flick to the left corner which Scott got a hand to but could not prevent from squeezing over the line.

The visitors also threatened with a drag-flick but Joe Welch’s effort was agonisingly inches wide of the left post with the home stopper rooted in the middle of the goal.

Romsey have rarely been behind in games whilst on their winning streak over past weeks and a poor reaction to this unfamiliar situation perhaps explained the lack of patience in possession for much of the first half, too often trying to force long balls from the back.

Nonetheless some good chances were created, in particular when Lewis Birch broke into space and used his pace to out-sprint the defence, only to fire uncharacteristically off target when one-on-one with the ‘keeper.

After the break, the Abbey side remained too hasty in attempting to equalise and were punished as Academicals all but sealed the win with two goals in quick succession after capitalising on turnovers in the Romsey half.

Romsey improved in attack as the game progressed and it took a fine diving save to deny a second Welch drag-flick. Eventually the visitors got the consolation goal they deserved as good team play down the right led to the ball being centered for Jack Murray to sweep in from the edge of the area.

Romsey can still be very pleased with their work so far this season, sitting in fourth place at the winter break but level on points with two of the sides above them, chasing leaders Haslemere who are four points clear.

Romsey Men’s 1s 5 – 4 Honourable Artillery Company Men’s 1s

A rollercoaster of twists and turns ended with Romsey ahead at the final whistle, though they probably did not deserve all three points after suffering a collapse in the middle of the game that was hard to account for.

Travelling HAC could only field ten players and Romsey appeared to be heading to a routine victory as they led 2-0 shortly before halftime.

The first came when a penalty corner won by Jack Forrest-Charde was converted by Joe Welch’s drag-flick into the left of the goal.

This was backed up by a strike by Ben Mullan after good pressing work saw him dispossess the opposition centreback and dribble around the ‘keeper.

But in the final minutes of the first period HAC broke down their right wing and converted at the back post on the second attempt after Alex Buck in goal had cut out the first cross.

This goal gave the visitors the boost in confidence they needed to believe they could get something from the game, and after the break they began to embarrass the home side’s superiority in numbers by frequently creating spaces in the Romsey press to dribble through.

Romsey were left shell-shocked as the ten men gave a superb display against the odds, first equalising and then taking the lead.

Buck, deputising for the unavailable Lozz Scott, was actually having a good game but was left exposed by his teammates and the clinical HAC forwards passed the ball around for tap ins that gave him no chance.

The home side drew level when Rob Kerr’s ball into the D evaded a player from both teams to arrive at Sam Barcia at the back post, who outmaneuvered the goalkeeper and put a reverse flick in from close range.

HAC once more exposed Romsey’s frailties to go ahead again, only to be hit by a salvo of goals in consecutive minutes that proved decisive.

Welch continued his fine set piece record this season with a second sweetly delivered drag-flick, but was later forced off with an injury that could rule him out from future fixtures.

The cheers of the home spectators were just settling down when Forrest-Charde shrugged off a couple of heavy tackles as he drove into the area and, with players from both sides stopping prematurely in anticipation of a penalty corner being awarded, flicked the ball in off the post to reignite the celebrations even stronger.

Mullan then had a chance to seal the game from a similar position but his flick instead found the ‘keeper’s chest.

This seventh successive victory maintains the host’s second place in the league as the top four all won, but Romsey will need to tighten up when they visit third placed London Academicals on Saturday.

Fareham Men’s 3s 2 – 5 Romsey Men’s 1s

An away win over struggling Fareham 3 makes it six successive victories for Romsey and lifts them into second place in the league, one point behind Haslemere.

Early on goalkeeper Lozz Scott made a fantastic flying stop at Fareham’s first penalty corner to keep a high drag-flick out. This enabled the visitors to take the lead by converting their own first set piece, with Joe Welch rifling his drag-flick into the net.

The advantage was doubled by Lewis Birch, running on to Welch’s through ball and giving the stopper little chance with a sweetly hit strike.

Romsey controlled the remainder of the half well but will be concerned at the continuing trend of giving away some unnecessary penalty corners.

As so has often been the case this season, Romsey had a big wobble at the start of the second half and Fareham took advantage with a great solo run across the top of the area and cracking finish inside the near post.

Perhaps crucially though Romsey somehow still led after an awful ten minutes and having regaining their composure soon restored the cushion with a great team move.

Young debutant Tom Croft-Baker was having a fantastic game for the team and after being set free down the right by earlier work from Ben Mullan and David Edwards, he supplied a perfect square ball for Neil Strong to sweep in at the back post.

Man of the match Croft-Baker was involved in another fine move for the visitor’s fourth goal, releasing Mullan into space in the right channel and Strong again bravely committed himself in front of the ‘keeper to lift a deflection in.

Fareham threatened to make it an interesting finish by reducing the deficit in the last ten minutes, a neat one-two at a penalty corner finished off with a fierce hit.

Romsey secured the win in style however, with Jack Forrest-Charde emphatically smashing home a rebound in baseball fashion after great interplay down the left between Sam Barcia and himself had won a penalty corner.

Romsey have challenging fixtures in the next two weeks to finish the first half of the season, starting at home to HAC on Saturday.

Romsey Men’s 1s 4 – 3 Andover Men’s 1s

Romsey extended their fine winning streak to five games after holding off a late fightback by visiting Andover.

The game was chanceless for quite some time but it was Romsey who took the lead when a ball into the area rebounded to Sam Barcia, who caught the goalkeeper out with a near post finish from an acute angle.

Andover responded well, pressing the home side deep into their own half and winning several penalty corners. They equalised from one of these set pieces as a touch from the post defender was insufficient to keep a drag-flick out.

The home side retook the lead when Jack Forrest-Charde converted a penalty stroke, awarded after a quick counterattack ended in a melee in front of goal and Neil Strong being fouled in the act of shooting.

Early in the second half it took an astonishing save from the Andover ‘keeper to deny Lewis Birch’s fierce strike from the edge of the area, stretching rapidly to the bottom corner to block the shot with his kicker.

The lead was however extended at a penalty corner, with the visiting stopper having no answer to Joe Welch’s emphatic drag-flick high into the net.

Romsey’s fourth also came from a penalty corner, swept home by David Edwards after Forrest-Charde’s slide pass was deflected into his path by Birch.

The home side were seemingly coasting to victory by now, dictating the game and showing good patience in transferring the ball around the backline to retain possession for long spells. This came to end when Andover changed tactics and pressed the ball high, with the hosts feeling the squeeze and consistently turning the ball over.

The visitors twice converted penalty corner drag-flicks in the final ten minutes to set up a grandstand finish and after the final whistle a relieved Romsey were left to reflect on the vital importance of a clearance whilst the score was 4-2.

Goalkeeper Lozz Scott had been required to come out and smother a shot in the previous phase of play but when the ball was lifted towards the exposed net, defender Matt Ireland was back on the line to tip the ball over his own crossbar.

The victory lifts Romsey into third spot and they have the opportunity to advance again next week as the top two sides face each other.

Camberley & Farnborough Men’s 1st XI 0 – 1 Romsey Men’s 1st XI

Romsey maintained their upward momentum as a gritty and united defensive display saw them come away from Camberley with the points. The outcome might have been different had the home side been able to take their chances in the first half but goalkeeper Lozz Scott delivered an inspirational man of the match performance to keep them out.

Camberley played without their ‘keeper for the opening ten minutes as he was delayed by traffic, but the extra outfield player enabled them to outnumber Romsey in the middle of the pitch and prevented the visitors from threatening the exposed goal.

Instead it was Camberley who earned several cheap penalty corners in the opening period of the match but Scott looked comfortable in padding away a couple of dragflicks away with his hands.

Romsey came close after winning a penalty corner of their own with Lewis Birch’s straight strike getting a deflection from injector David Edwards, but the touch was not quite strong enough to guide it inside the post.

Camberley had a big chance in open play as miscommunication saw their high forward left unmarked behind the defense after a turnover. He was found by a long pass but was put under pressure by Scott advancing from his line and the eventual reverse stick effort from a wide angle missed at the near post.

In the second half Romsey got themselves in front after Jack Murray drove into the left of the area and won a penalty corner by putting the ball on a defending foot. The routine was perfectly executed as Jack Forrest-Charde slid a pass to the back post where player-coach Danny Miles had run to deflect it in.

Romsey were reduced to 9 men for a period after receiving two green cards in quick succession but held firm. Camberley continued to win penalty corners but seemed short of ideas as they persisted with their plan of dragging at the set pieces despite Scott clearly having the measure of their flicker.

When Scott then produced a brilliant reaction save to paw away a deflected effort, Camberley must have sensed it was not their day. The final quarter saw Romsey put in a fantastic display of defensive discipline as they worked tirelessly to apply pressure on the ball carrier and to track the runs of the opposition.

The result sees the team keep pace with a thinning pack of teams chasing Regional 2 leaders Haslemere.


Romsey Men’s 1s 2 – 1 Sunbury & Walton Hawks Men’s 1s

Romsey extended their winning run to three games with a tight home victory over Sunbury.

The visitors boasted an impressively miserly defence that had kept four clean sheets in their first five league outings this season, but Romsey made light of this by surging into a 2-0 first half advantage.

They took the lead as Neil Strong seized upon a defensive fumble to pick out Sam Barcia and the youngster showed remarkable coolness in the area, skipping around the ‘keeper as he stepped from his line and passing the ball into the exposed goal.

It was Strong who put Romsey further ahead as he fired a low shot from the edge of the area under the arm of the diving goalkeeper after being found in space by a pass from Lewis Birch.

Birch then appeared to have added a third when he went wide around the ‘keeper and fired a reverse stick shot on target but an excellent sliding recovery by a defender deflected the effort wide. Sunbury came close with an effort of their own as a sharp deflection of a reverse stick cross went narrowly beyond the far post.

In the second half the hosts had a big chance to all but seal the points when man of the match Barcia knocked an inviting square ball across the face of goal, but the two Romsey players at the back post somehow failed to put it in the net.

This almost proved costly as Sunbury began to ratchet up the pressure on the home D, aided by a succession of turnovers of possession in the midfield by Romsey. The visitors were denied by a fantastic double save by Lozz Scott in goal with Dave Miles scrambling the ball to safety.

Sunbury did get back into the game with a well taken goal, exploiting errors in Romsey’s defense of a free hit to work the ball into the area, ending with a deflection in front of the ‘keeper.

This set up a nervy finale but Romsey held on and the result sees them join a bunch of five other teams tied in second place of Regional Div. 2 with 12 points apiece.

London Edwardians Men’s 2nd XI 0 – 2 Romsey Men’s 1st XI

An excellent tactical performance saw Romsey shrug off a swathe of unavailability in the squad to bring back three valuable points from Roehampton.

Romsey began shakily as some poor passing and a lack of leading off the ball saw them conceding possession in dangerous positions in their own half. The home side earned three early penalty corners but failed to convert each time, with two dragflicks flying wide and the other saved by a strong right hand from goalkeeper Lozz Scott.

Edwardians would regret missing these chances as Romsey settled into the game and began to exploit the very high defensive line adopted by the hosts. Several times through balls fired from the Romsey backline just failed to connect with the runs of Lewis Birch and Danny Miles.

Eventually one such pass was picked up by Birch but the goalkeeper was quick off his line to make a sliding block of a low shot. Birch also fired a penalty corner strike wide whilst Ben Butcher’s reverse stick effort lacked a deflection to put it in at the far post.

In the second half Romsey were increasingly secure in defence with their man of the match Dave Miles proving to be a rock at centreback. Romsey took the lead at a penalty corner set piece as they kept the ball alive when the initial pass was blocked and Ben Mullan’s mishit shot was sharply deflected in by Sam Barcia on the back post.

The visitors then doubled their advantage as a pass from Charlie Harrigan set up a brilliant two man move between Birch and Mullan which ended with Mullan smashing the ball past the ‘keeper at his near post. With this cushion secured, Romsey played some nice possession hockey to see the game out comfortably.

Romsey Men’s 1st XI 5 – 1 City of Portsmouth Men’s 1st XI

Romsey bounced back from last week’s defeat at Haslemere by cruising to victory over opposition who had been a bogey side in their Regional Div. 2 encounters in previous seasons.

Romsey started strongly and never looked back as a lightning break that took the ball from one D to the other was ended by a stick tackle on Chris Mason just in front of goal, with Jack Forrest-Charde converting the resulting penalty stroke. The hosts kept the pressure on and doubled their advantage when Joe Welch’s pass picked out captain Ben Butcher in the area, who had time to turn and finish calmly into the bottom corner.

The hosts weathered a period of Portsmouth pressure thanks to several perfectly timed interventions in and around the D from centreback Mark Gilbert. At the other end Romsey’s forward line was on tremendous form as their pace and intelligent runs off the ball kept posing questions for the visiting defence. Man of the match Butcher in particular was leading by example and he supplied the assist for Ben Mullan’s first time volleyed effort as the Abbey side again scored after getting plenty of men forward in a quick counterattack.

Romsey made a bad start to the second half, with some poor touches in their own half putting them under pressure and Portsmouth capitalised when they converted a penalty corner with a sweetly hit straight strike.

The hosts needed to steady the ship and did so quickly when Portsmouth were hassled into losing possession in their own half and the resulting attack saw Butcher drive into the area and knock the ball past the keeper at his near post. Sadly for Romsey Mason then suffered a hamstring injury as he accelerated onto a through ball, which will rule him out of action for the next few weeks at least.

Romsey’s fifth goal came at a penalty corner when Forrest-Charde’s slide pass to the back post was not met by the intended deflection, but still could not be kept out by the defender on the line.

The hosts created further chances but were unable to convert, including a back stick effort from Sam Barcia, a first time hit from Lewis Birch and a late two on one when David Edwards was unable link up with the supporting run of Birch.



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