Upminster M4s [3 – 1] Braintree M3s

Match report from Men’s 4’s Div 7SE

The U’s had a squad of 15 to choose from, late additions Ollie Peck and Ryan Hodges could only serve to strengthen the team. The pre-match chat from Captain on the day, Szpak, outlined the fact that the U’s would be playing 4-3-3 as they had a very attacking side and a solid defence, including Johnny Appleton and Rob Fordham.  Ryan took the entire squad on a warm up, yes the 4th XI warmed up (the captain hoping that this would help produce a quick start). Sadly this didn’t happen! The customary slow start resulted in Dave Smith sin-binned for an overzealous last ditch tackle. Braintree started well and Upminster were unable to settle so in a poor first half Braintree deservedly led 1-0 and it could have been more except for some fine goalkeeping by Guy Robertson.

The second half was a different story with Upminster reverting back their traditional 4-4-2, the youngsters Liam Robertson (on his 4th XI debut), Louis and Ellis Pickering, Stephen Mcloughlin and Dan Boran all playing some fine fast hockey that began to wear down the mature Braintree defence.  An equaliser would surely come, but despite numerous shots including Peck hitting the post the visiting keeper kept the U’s at bay. The U’s were then down to 10 following another ill-timed tackle from Smith, but heads did not drop and the work rate of Hodges, John Dunnett and Will Topp, all in midfield, kept the Upminster in the game. Once back to 11 the extra man and high energy soon told with Jordan Southan converting with a fine reverse stick shot from midway in the circle. Soon after a poor tackle from a Braintree defender resulted in a flick which Peck converted. The U’s first win of the season was finally sealed by a polished strike from Smith.

DOM: Rob Fordham  MOM: Liam Robertson