Sidmouth men on steep learning curve

Once again Skipper Ian Brown was forced into making changes to the team with five regulars out injured as the long season begins to take its toll. However, it was a welcome recall for Jon Pike and Ryan Trafford after a lengthy absence, writes Charlie Plowden.

The earlier Davis Wood league Premier 3 fixture with Hereford had seen Sidmouth comprehensively outplayed by a physical and well disciplined side adopting a very direct approach to their game plan.

It seemed that this was going to be a carbon copy when the first attacking move by Hereford resulted in a goal with less than a minute of the match played.

Though shellshocked, Sidmouth regrouped and went on the offensive and, following a slick move along the right flank involving Trafford, Mapson and Lewis, a penalty corner ensued and the excellent Powell was on hand to tuck away an equaliser.

After this high octane opening five minutes the game settled down with Hereford dominant in midfield and making telling runs that Sidmouth struggled to defend.

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The pace of the opposition’s movement and link up play was showing the difference between the two teams.

Eventually, the continual pressure told and Hereford scored three quick fire goals despite some superb goalkeeping from Hill all half.

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The worry was, as half time approached, that the goal tally could get away from Sidmouth and a stepping up of tempo and physicality was required.

The good news was that the second half saw just that. Sidmouth got hold of the ball and put together long passages of impressive hockey especially through Rowson, Lewis and Joy in the central midfield zone. The physicality was led by Brown and Pike who had a typically robust game which did earn him a yellow card but his commitment couldn’t be faulted.

Hereford perhaps resting on their three goal cushion rarely threatened in the second half and it was Sidmouth, who were finding gaps with Powell having his best game of the season, ably supported by Nick Wade, constantly troubling their defence.

So the learning curve continues for the team with both Head Coach Laurence Cole and Skipper Ian Brown rightly focusing on the second half positives that came from the midfield quintet stepping up their own performances in terms of structure and desire.

The Adrenalin Games Man of the Match went to George Powell

This weekend’s fixture is away to highly-placed Plymouth University.

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