A goal feast saw the end of Anchs pre season friendlies. A good warm up and pre match chat saw Anchs make a good start to the game. Despite this Marden won the first penalty corner of the game which was well blocked by Rich Perkins and the rebound was put away to safety by keeper Darren Richardson. Anchs then took control and were soon three up following good team goals from Callum Harris and Joel Divers either side of a wonder finish from Luc Debont. Marden managed to pull one back following a good finish but almost instantly Anchs went up the other end and scored again to make it four one at half time through Dan Mutton. The second half saw Anchs quick out of the blocks and scored again from two team goals finished by Joel Divers and Callum Harris. An unfortunate own goal from Rob Dixon gave Marden some hope but Jake Stevens, Chris Lack and Justin Harris controlled the middle and soon Gareth Price slotted away a penalty flick. Marden did manage a couple of late goals but overall a positive performance which sets up Anchs nicely for the league next week.
Anchs welcomed Cliftonville for a friendly and put in a much better performance than the week before. With Cliftonville being from the league Anchs have just been promoted in to this was always going to be a good challenge. Anchs were slow to get out of the blocks but solid defending from Gareth Price and Rich Perkins kept the opposition out. Anchs soon came to life and dominated the next twenty minutes of the game. During this time Anchs scored two goals firstly from a good finish from Dan Mutton and following a good team goal which was finished off by the same player. Being two down Cliftonville stepped up and were soon back in the game following a finish at the back post. Cliftonville had a golden opportunity to equalise from a penalty corner but Anchs keeper Darren Richardson made a smart save. The second half started as the first and Cliftonville managed to draw level. The rest of second half were pretty even by both sides having chances but being unable to take chances, most notably skipper Gareth Price forcing a decent save from the Cliftonville keeper from a penalty stroke. Overall a good run out which sets up Anchs well for the season ahead.
With a new team to start the season the men’s second XI were eager to start the season off well in their first friendly. Unfortunately the first half didn’t go according to plan. A distinct lack of hockey basics and poor structure saw Ashford capitalise and score two quick goals.
A strong half time team talk and some reshuffling saw Anchs come out for the second half much more determined and focused. With excellent work down the wing from Ben Selby, Anchs won a short corner. From the resulting short corner Gordon Thompson cooly slotted home past the advancing Ashford keeper. Anchs continued to push forward and were awarded another short corner. This time Iain Rawson stepped up and launched a powerful drag flick into the bottom corner.
Solid defending in the second half from Richard, LD, Sharps and Ryan saw that we didn’t concede any more goals and the game finished 2-2. Next week we will be travelling to Marden with the hope of carrying the second half performance into the game.
Anchs pre season friendlies continued with a below par performance against Maidstone. Following a good team talk and a decent warm up Anchs made a decent start to the game and forced the Maidstone keeper into a number of good saves. However one minute before half time Anchs switched off and allowed Maidstone to go ahead with their forward slotting home from a rebound of keeper Darren Richardson’s pads. Following a frank team talk at half time Anchs made a good start to the second half and were soon level following a good finish from Callum Harris. Within minutes though of equalising Anchs conceded again when the Maidstone forward was able to slot home. Again this brought Anchs back to life and following a world class finish from Joel and a well taken flick from Gareth Price Anchs were 3-2 up with five to play. Following a poor tackle in the D Maidstone were awarded a penalty flick and the forward put it away to make the final score 3-3. Perhaps a timely reminder that if Anchs want to progress this season they will need to raise their game. Cliftonville come to town next week for what will be another challenging friendly. Push back at 1.30 and all support would be welcome.
Anchs welcomed Penguins from the Sussex League for a pre season friendly. With new coach Tom Nissen present and several new faces vying for a place in the 1s squad this year Anchs had five new players making their debuts and everyone of them did very well and more importantly have given coach Tom Nissen and captain Gareth Price some big decisions to make with established first team players from last year looking to get back into the side.
Following a good team talk and warm up and with a large support behind them Anchs made a solid start to the game. However the first real opportunity fell to the visitors who forced a great save from Darren Richardson in the Anchs goal. Soon however Penguin pressure told and their midfielder was allowed to turn in the D and smash an unstoppable shot into the goal. At this point Anchs came back to life. Captain Gareth Price and Gary Jackson were as always excellent at the back and made some great tackles. Chris Lack took control of the game in the middle and the running of Jack Oxby was causing issues. Eventually on the stroke of half time pressure told and Callum Harris slotted home to send Anchs in level at half time.
Anchs more or less dominated the second half. Penguin only looked likely to score from short corners but excellent running running from Rich Perkins meant Anchs kept them out. Anchs took the lead themselves from a short corner with Chris Lack deflecting home. Anchs third was an outstanding team goal. Tom Nissen took a quick free hit and made a great pass to Callum Harris who slipped the ball across the goal for debutant OJ to slot home. Anchs finished the game in style with Chris Lack smashing a reserve strike across the goal for Callum Harris to slot home.
Thank you to Keith Hopkins and Ian Jackson for umpiring so well. Next week sees Maidstone come to Anchs for a 1.30 push back and support would be very welcome.