|Date||18 March 2017|
|Venue||Prince Henrys High School WR11 4QH|
|Result||W 5 - 3|
|Scorers||William Ashworth (2), Michael Birch (2), Richard Roberts (1)|
Old Wulfs 1sts made the long trip to Pershore in a rearranged fixture and the last game of the season. Only a bare eleven were available, with Eliot Gwilt being drafted in from the second team in order to make up for absentees.
Pershore started the day one place above Old Wulfs in third, which meant a win would see them leapfrogged and Wulfs end the season in a respectable but frustrating bronze medal position, just missing out on promotion.
However, this eventuality didn’t seem too likely when a slow and disjointed start from Wulfs saw them go two goals behind in the first fifteen minutes. Both goals from Pershore looked carbon copies of each other, essentially quick breaks up the field causing panic in the Wulfs defence and players to be left unmarked allowing them to almost walk the ball in.
Soon after though, the away side managed to get one back when Palmer made his way up the field from defence and sent a piercing pass into the D, picking out Roberts who coolly deflected in with his reverse stick. 2-1.
Wulfs were back in the game, but more defensive woes meant Pershore scored another goal resulting from a mix up in defence. At this point, it looked as if the game might be slipping away but for a timely Wulfs goal when Ashworth found some space in the D to turn a cross in from close range, and take the scoring to 3-2 at half time.
After the break, Wulfs adapted their tactics and the play became much more coordinated. The forwards had been told to hold higher positions and find the corners in order to expand the play – and it worked. Ashworth in particular used lateral running to great effect, consistently losing his man and picking up passes high up the field.
This meant the Pershore D was continually being overloaded and lead to two goals from Birch. His first came after Ashworth received the ball in the corner and laid it off to Aldersley, who in turn found Birch who finished neatly in the bottom corner. His second came from a penalty corner where he and Palmer performed a clever one-two and he slapped the ball home to make it 3-4.
The good attacking play continued, and Ashworth was on hand again to mop up inside the D after Pershore had blocked a shot on the line from another Old Wulfs penalty corner. From then on, the away team never really looked like letting the lead slip, although Pearson had to save brilliantly from a controversial penalty stroke a few minutes from time to maintain the two goal lead and eventually confirm the 5-3 win.
So Old Wulfs finish in an agonising 3rd place in the table, meaning unless there is a drastic restructuring of the leagues, they will be playing their hockey at the same level next season.
Man of the Match – Will Ashworth