Stiles pounces for Weymouth

TWO GOALS: Andy Stiles

TWO GOALS: Andy Stiles

First published in Local Sport by

TROJANS II 1 WEYMOUTH 2

WEYMOUTH maintained their unbeaten record to go joint top with Gosport at the top of Hampshire League Division Two.

The Seasiders made one change from the side that put five past Portsmouth & Southsea last week with Matt Bell coming into the starting line-up following a fortnight’s sabbatical.

Weymouth struggled to get into their rhythm in the early exchanges and, from the first meaningful attack, the home side took the lead when a carefully placed shot flew over an onrushing David Civil and into the Weymouth goal.

The next 20 minutes saw the Hampshire side completely dominate proceedings as Weymouth failed to find their usual fluency and struggled to have any meaningful possession in the attacking half.

Thanks to a combination of poor finishing, last-ditch tackling and a couple of decent saves, Weymouth held out until the half-time whistle still trailing by just one goal.

In seasons past, after playing what was certainly their poorest hockey of the season to date, it was not uncommon for the Seasiders to struggle to turn games such as this around.

However, the 2012/13 Weymouthians have two good, winning seasons behind them and this experience stood them well in the second half.

Improved though they were after the break, the previously unbeaten Trojans continued to prove a threat as they looked to overlap whenever they got the ball.

Two drag-flicked penalty corners either side of a quick-breaking solo effort all had to be kept out by the Weymouth back five in the first few minutes of the second half.

After soaking up the pressure for a good 15 minutes some rapid two-touch passing saw the Seasiders break out down the right-hand side and from a pin-point cross, an unmarked Andy Stiles swept the ball in at the far post on 51 minutes.

Three minutes later Weymouth were awarded just their second penalty corner of the game.

Some confusion at the top of the castle led to Trojans snatching the ball away from the attacking side, which they then inexplicably failed to clear. Michael Westlake was able to steal the ball back and tee-up Stiles who despatched the ball into the bottom left corner, his second goal in three minutes.

The last 15 minutes saw a stunned Trojans mount wave after wave of attacks as they pushed men forward in search of an equaliser.

Some of the Weymouth tackling bec-ame a little over-zealous and following one too many poor challenges, Dan Bowles received a yellow card and five minutes in the sin-bin for a mistimed tackle.

Despite conceding another four short corners and the home side creating a number of scoring opportunities through quick link-up play, Weymouth were able to hold on for a victory that had looked very distant just 30 minutes earlier.

The second half was a truly excellent team performance and Trojans will no doubt feel very unlucky not to have at least shared the spoils after dominating possession throughout the match.

Today, Weymouth entertain Basing-stoke (2pm) at Redlands.

Weymouth: Civil, Harvey, Bell, Broadhead, Underhill, Westlake, Bowles, Membury, Stiles, Toms, Drewitt, Knott Man of the Match: David Civil Other results: Frome 3 Weymouth Ladies 2 (Lucy Fortescue and Emily Austin).

Wimborne Wayfarers 2 Weymouth Ladies II 0.

Weymouth II 0 Isle of Wight II 6.

* Both the men’s and ladies’ teams are always on the lookout for new players, whether you are returning to the game or starting afresh.

If you are interested, contact Weymouth Hockey Club through Facebook or the website: pitchero.com/clubs/weymouthhockeyclub

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