Shefford and Sandy mens IIs produced a clinic away performance to dismantle rivals Blueharts 7-1 and go second in East League.
Having had some success with a more aggressive pressing game in recent weeks the pre-match chat was all about putting Blueharts under immediate pressure, looking to play the game in the opposition half and making the most of penalty corners.
The opening phases went exactly to plan with S&S three goals up in 10 minutes.
Within a minute S&S had won the ball deep in opposition territory. The chance appeared to have been lost when the home GK was able to leave a long pass into the D, only for the ball to rebound off the post with Reed pocking home from a few inches.
Minutes later S&S were two up with a sweet penalty corner routine straight from the coach’s manual being converted by Angel at the far post.
At this point Blueharts were on the back-foot with S&S winning the ball high up the pitch and stretching the defence with sharp movement. Soon it was 3-0, another team move finding Price on the byline, who pulled the ball back for Devlin to score with a first time slap.
S&S were content to keep the ball moving, often through Pennington and Hepburn who were running the midfield, and threatening more goals with the forward line running the channels well.
Number 4 was something of a rarity, Joannou slotting home on the reverse (not his strongest skill), before Price completed the scoring for the half finishing off another team move from close range, with Reed the provider having drawn the keeper.
The second half wasn’t so straight forward for S&S, with Blueharts finally creating some chances of their own, with both Sole and Robbins called into last ditch tackles.
Having weathered the initial pressure S&S made it six with a fine solo goal from Angel who dribbled past a few defenders before slotting past the on-rushing keeper.
With S&S’s defence finally part of the game Turner decided he should carry the ball out of defence, using his speed to take him half the length of the pitch through the Bleuharts defence and into the D to square for Price, who’s poachers instinct saw him get to the ball before keeper and defender with a deft deflection on the reverse.
Devlin was then unlucky not to make it eight with a sharp turn seeing his shot on the reverse come off the post.
S&S looked like they had ensured a clean sheet when they weathered a late run of penalty corners, including one smart defensive deflection by Riley, only for a scrappy last-minute deflection to creep in at the corner.
They look forward to the visit of St Albans this weekend.
S&S: Payne, Robbins (capt), Sole, Turner, Riley, Hepburn, Pennington, Joannou, Angel, Price, Reed, Devlin.
The mens firsts drew 4-4 at Upminster, a result that sees them remain unbeaten and third in the Division One table They host Wapping IIIs on Saturday.
S&S IIIs beat West Herts VI 3-0 but the IVs lost 7-0 at home to Southgate Adelaide IIs. The IIIs visit Broxbourne this weekend with the IVs travelling to Rickmansworth.
In East League Division 2SW Shefford & Sandy Ladies beat Harpenden 4-2, their second win of the season. Next up is the short trip to Blueharts.
S&S Ladies IIs lost 4-0 at Cheshunt in The Five Counties League Division One, while the IIIs thrashed Leighton Buzzard 5-0 in Division Three and the IVs enjoyed a walkover. This weekend the IIs host Chiltern and the IIIs visit Chiltern IIs and the IVs travel to Broxbourne Vs.