St Albans Mens 1sts 4-1 Magpies Mens 1sts
Magpies started their return to Premier A with a tough fixture against fellow title hopefuls St Albans. Magpies gave senior club debuts to Sam Paterson and Jack Knight as well as welcoming back Will Martin and Tom Sumner to first team league action.
The match began with Magpies having a high quantity of possession, but failing to convert the pressure into a goal, with the home team keeper making some smart saves. Magpies would be made to pay for this lack of conversion, as mid way through the half St Albans would pass the ball downfield and then put in a reverse stick cross to a forward for a back post tap in. The lead would soon be doubled after a short corner was converted with a powerful low flick. Magpies would stick to their game plan though and manage to halt the momentum by scoring from a short corner of their own – a smart Leigh Sitch finish making the score 2-1 going into half time.
The visiting team again had a large amount of possession after the break, but the final pass into the circle was well defended by St Albans. With an urgency to score Magpies again showed the lack of composure which haunted them last season. The fouls and cards started to come with 3 different players taking their turns in the sin bin and the pressure eventually told when a defensive turnover led to a fast break goal which again was clinically taken. Magpies were still playing well though and looked to have halved the lead, but managed to somehow not convert a counter attack, as the ball helplessly flashed past the St Albans goal. The games bigger moments fell to the favour of the home side, who sealed their victory with another powerful short corner flick to finish the scoring at 4 goals to 1.
The first match of the season did not go as Magpies had hoped, however there is obviously plenty of time left to make a move up the table. The focus now shifts to next weeks fixture against local rivals Dereham in what is likely to be a typically passionate affair.
MOTM – Leigh Sitch
Match report by Richard Larkin