Marlborough 2 - 1 Swindon
Coming of age...
Marlborough maintained their 100% start in Conference North win an impressive victory over fellow table toppers, Swindon.
The game started at a frantic pace with Swindon enjoying the best of the early exchanges. Marlborough took a while to settle into the game and found themselves under pressure and having scramble the ball away inside their own circle on several occasions. As the game moved on, Marlborough were able to get to grips with the way Swindon were playing and began to exert themselves on the game more fully. Marlborough began to force Swindon into making mistakes when outletting and were winning the ball higher up the pitch. Unfortunately, they couldn't turn this into a goal and instead found themselves behind before the break.
Marlborough had the ball in an attacking area when a sloppy pass infield was picked off by a Swindon midfielder and quickly advanced up the pitch. Marlborough did their best to scramble back and provide cover but the extra numbers told as a Swindon forward was able to receive the ball inside the circle under minimal pressure before turning onto his reverse and firing the ball into the corner of the goal.
At Half-time, Marlborough felt they were unlucky to be behind but also knew that Swindon weren't going to allow them back into the game easily. Marlborough hadn't been retaining possession well enough, looking to force the ball through the middle of the pitch rather than playing their normal brand of hockey focusing on creating width and height in attack.
Marlborough started the second half well, looking dangerous by pushing John Bromley higher up the pitch down their right-hand channel. Swindon continued to look to play on the counter-attack, looking to play a very direct style of hockey whenever the ball was won. Marlborough tuned their pressure into a goal, with the ball being won high up the pitch by RIch Fynn. He played the ball into the circle to Alex Renwick who evaded his defender with his first touch and calmly played the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.
Marlborough could feel the momentum really shift in their favour and went in search of another goal. They found it when Mark Ramage won the ball in his own half and found a pinpoint pass through the heart of the Swindon defence to the buoyant Alex Renwick. He instantly turned the last remaining defender, beating him with ease before drawing the Keeper and slipping the ball underneath him and into the empty goal.
In the last 10 minutes, Marlborough defended resolutely, limiting Swindon to shots form narrow angles which Aaron Holloway was able to comfortably save. It seemed as if the game was finished but Swindon were awarded a Penalty Corner with the last play of the match. Marlborough were determined not to let the game slip and were very quick off their line, charging down the opposition flick to give them the win.
Marlborough knew this match would be a good indicator of their progress and were delighted to continue their positive start to the season.
Man of the match was awarded to Alex Renwick, who showed some exceptional skill throughout the game, giving the Swindon defence a torrid time in failing to keep him quiet.
D*** of the Day was once again "awarded" to Charlie Hawley for his pre-game vandalism of an opposition vehicle, thus maintaining his own personal 100% record for the season...