Marlborough vs Bristol Uni 2s
By John Berry
Revenge is sweet... and hard work!
Coming off the back of a tough but successful double header weekend, which saw Marlborough draw away from home against top of the league, then the following day, thump their local rivals Devizes, Marlborough were looking to continue the trend of solid match-play and team work.
The game against Bristol Uni A would be a challenge. The majority of their regular midfield missing, and the opposition sitting comfortably 4 places above them, the boys were still in buoyant spirits.
Bristol had beaten Marlborough in the last outing, with a demonstration of pace, fitness, and a huge squad… Marlborough had to defend against these strengths, and find a way to out-smart the students.
Knowing that they would not promote or drop at the end of the season, a new target was set; a positive league end goal difference. 5 games remaining, and sitting at -4 at present, meant the game needed winning.
Right from the off, Marlborough had Bristol on the back foot, much to the blasé opposition’s surprise. With both the coach and injured captain on the bench giving support and advice, a high rotation in midfield and forward line was maintained, to keep Marlborough as fresh as possible.
The eternally chatty Mark Ramage was the first to turn the screw. Frustrating the students with his blinding hand speed, he soon turned a melee in the D into a goal, slamming it into the back-board.
Toby Sampson was next on the scoreboard, with a deft touch to see it past the keeper, after excellent interplay between the team.
Going into the half at 2-0 was well deserved, however classically Marlborough, come the second half they rested back on their laurels, giving the students the majority of possession and pressure. The opposition soon converted to make it 2-1.
They continued to pile on the pressure, with Marlborough having to defend stoutly, and young Luc Renwick in goal making some superb saves to keep the score line positive for the home team.
Marlborough started to make inroads back into the oppositions half more frequently, with a number of chances going close, finally, again with excellent team work, movement, and passing, the ball was played across the D to the onrushing Ben Spink, who smashed the ball into the top corner. Absolutely top class finish with the flat of his stick.
It was a further 15minutes before the final whistle, and again, Marlborough sat back. Bristol pushed forward, desperate to get a result from the game, and with 4 minutes to play, they eventually slipped a second goal into the net, possibly aided by Marlborough at one point going down to 8 players due to poor discipline.
Resolute defending right from the front to the back kept the opposition at bay, to end the game 3-2 in Marlborough’s favour. A cracking, nail biting victory enjoyed by a crowd basking in the unusual February sun.
MoM was Hamish Fyfe for his awesome work rate, and pressure, creating many of the chances Marlborough enjoyed and converted from.
DoD was Mark Ramage for his lack of charm with the umpires - 2 greens and a yellow card.