Old Stoics Footballers Beat Malvernians
21 February 2017
More positive news to report from Saturday's cup tie with us beating Old Malvernians 2s 3-2 in the DWT Cup. This is a competition just for teams in Division Four and Five plus teams looking to join the Arthurian League- the equivalent of the Checkatrade Trophy if you like- and we were beaten finalists in it in our debut campaign in the league.
Alex Jollivet once again captained the side and indeed looks likely to be skipper for the remainder of the season with official captain James Robson doubtful to return before then with his knee injury. Mark Thompson-Royds returned to go between the sticks with Harry Norris, our keeper from the previous week, moving forward into centre back. Recent leaver Alvaro made his second start for the Old Stoics at left back while up front Tolly Leech was joined by Olly Trotter.
Despite the team arriving in good time and actually getting a half decent warm up in for a change, unlike the opposition, the Old Stoics were slow and nervy starters and it came as quite a surprise when a swift counter attack saw them take the lead with their first foray forward. Harry Wolrige-Gordon drove into the box before laying the ball off to Leech, who seemed to want 15 touches when two would have sufficed. Thankfully Jollivet was more urgent and his first time shot curved away from the keeper before nestling into the bottom right hand corner.
The lead didn't last long however with Hamish Eggins finally paying the price for over complicating things at right back. Having not heeded the warnings when some neat footwork and willing support from surrounding players had got him out of hot water, he wasn't so lucky on the fourth occasion and lost the ball, leaving the Malvernians striker a clean run through at goal and the simple task of sliding the ball past an onrushing MTR.
Although recent results haven't been as positive as desirable, the Old Stoics have consistently been scoring goals with Leech in a particularly purple patch and the confidence he has gained from it was abundantly clear with Stoics' second goal. Malvern had given away a number of fouls with a series of ill-timed and rash challenges but when Leech was felled just outside the penalty area, they were made to pay as he dusted himself down to curl the resultant free kick into the top right hand corner of the goal, with the away side's keeper a mere spectator. This time the men in yellow and blue were able to hold onto the lead and went into the interval leading 2-1 and warming to the task.
Soon after the break, the Stoics further extended their lead with Leech once again the scorer. This time he beat the keeper at his near post with a powerful shot from a narrowish angle after Thomas Benyon had played him in. The attacking combination of Leech and Trotter worked well with Trotter battling impressively throughout the game and winning header after header despite giving away a few inches to his defensive counterparts.
A two-goal cushion duly achieved but with plenty of time for Malvernians to get back into the game, the cup tie was very much still alive. And Stoic jitters increased further when a speculative shot from outside the box was deflected past MTR with a well-timed flick of a leg from a Malvern player.
Thankfully that was the last of the scoring but not without two moments of brilliance from MTR and then Alvaro. First MTR had to dive full length to his right to tip a shot around the post that was destined for the bottom corner and then a swift counter attack from Malvern left the Stoics' defence exposed and outnumbered. When the Malvern winger crossed from the left and with three attackers closing in on the perfectly floated delivery, there looked to be only one outcome. However diminuitive Alvaro had other ideas and leapt like a salmon to decisively nod the ball away and leave the attacking trio heading fresh air. Trotter was then subjected to a clear foul inside the box but the otherwise excellent referee failed to awarded Stoics the clear penalty. However in the end it didn't prove costly with the home side holding on to win 3-2 and progress to the next round.
Man of the match goes to Alvaro for a composed performance at left-back and match saving header. Notable mentions to Trotter and Leech up top whilst W-G and Jollivet again excelled in midfield, battling away hard and adding more creative touches than they had been allowed the previous week.