The second half of the league season got under way with a game against local rivals Epsom 5th XI.
These games in the past had always been tense affairs not without their moments of controversy but this was a very good game played in the right spirit and some very good hockey played by both sides. There were a couple of envelopes changing hands before the start with a cash/player deal offered if Matt Breese was allowed to score. Obviously the wager was not taken!!
The Mustangs were decimated by injuries and unavailability this week and many of the team were played in unfamiliar positions plus the very very late news that Perkins had broken his wrist and Glyn Jones stepping in, but only for a half before he had to leave. Tom Orr was hoping to finish a county cross country run in good time, with David standing by with engine running, but obviously he got bogged down in mud and neither made it in time to play.
With the team settling into new positions it was no surprise that EHC 5’s started the better and attacked the Mustangs and after a couple of close chances took the lead after 10 minutes with a fine goal at the near post. But then the Mustangs started to take some control and had the 5’s pinned in their half only to be thwarted by an excellent display by their young keeper.
First half finished 0 v 1. Not much to say at half time except the team had to be re jigged with Jones leaving to umpire elsewhere and attempts to get Alex Scotts mind on the game!! The team was now down to the bear 11 and a formation change to 3 forwards.
The second half started really well with the extra width and Scott produced a fine run on the right and cut in and crossed for Chris Dendy to score with a fine sweep from the penalty spot. 1 v 1.
The game now went from end to end with both teams having good periods of possession and chances. From one short corner a shot deflected off the 5’s post man (Caggers) and onto the post and away from danger. Fortunately the 5’s dangerous forward (apparently his name is Carlos) kept his shooting and crossing to a minimum as he was well marshaled by Matt Bishop.
However, from a short corner the 5’s took the lead again with a good shot into the corner. This was sadly soon followed by an error at the top of the Mustang D that left 2 EHC 5’s in the clear and a fine shot by Matt Breese found the backboard (brown envelope exchanged hands and transfer done!). This with only 10 minutes to go meant the Mustangs were up against it to get even a point.
But hopes remained alive when, after a Mustang short corner with 5 minutes to go, Alex Scott scored to make it 2 v 3. Pressure was on the 5’s as we pushed forward to get another corner and hopefully snatch a point and with 2 minutes to go we got a corner only to see it go wide and this was to be the last chance of the game.
Disappointing not to get a point which, in my opinion, would have been a fair result but not to be this time! The unusual thing about this game was that neither Kerven was on the score sheet and both goals scored by colts!! The Mustangs now travel to Croydon Whits next week, hopefully with better availability, to get back to winning ways and keep up the push for promotion.