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Formby Hockey Club weekend match reports

Formby 5 - City of York 3 Formby hosted bottom of the table York on Saturday, and got off to an awful start, as, after their first attack ended in a 16 to the visitors, a speculative aerial down the middle of the pitch wasn't dealt with by the defence and a York forward was left unmarked in the circle and duly found the net. Formby were back on terms 2 minutes later, when Adrian Nash and Sean Friday combined to win a short corner, converted by Cannel Capper into the bottom right of the goal. 3 minutes later they were behind again, as Rob Baxter stopped a drag-flick from a penalty corner with his stick, but the ball fell unluckily onto his foot, which didn't stop it going in, but should have resulted in another corner. The umpire saw things differently, though and awarded a penalty stroke, which made it 1-2 despite Sam Birtles going the right way. Then, just after the quarter-hou,r the defenders lost discipline following an aerial which the umpire might well have judged dangerous in Formby's favour which resulted in a penalty corner for dissent. York found the net with a good routine and Formby were 3-1 down. They gradually settled down and managed to restrict York's speedy midfield, pushing forward more themselves and creating several chances. The reward came when York were down to 10 men following a crude challenge on Baxter, as Jonny Davies was upended in the circle and Will Miles scored easily from the penalty spot. Capper then received a 5-minute rest for a desperate attempted tackle in his 22 which brought a penalty corner as well, but Formby defended that and finished the half with a couple of near misses from Ste Wright and Felipe Davis-Guzman. The second half started with York being again reduced to 10 men for another foul on the tricky Baxter. Miles was wide with a good shooting chance, then, with the visitors restored to full strength Felipe Davis-Guzman and Baxter set up Friday for an effort on goal that was blocked onto a defender's foot for another penalty corner, from which Miles fed Capper for the equaliser. York's discipline broke down again with another yellow card for a foul on Ricky Davis-Guzman but Formby, having already lost Davies to a pulled hamstring, lost Felipe to a head injury as he tried to score from flat on his back, but got a defender's stick between the eyes. Fortunately Formby's resident Doctor, Sachin Sharma, was playing and patched him up for a trip to hospital. From the restart 22, Ste Wright wriggled his way into the circle, beating three men, then drew the 'keeper and squared to Friday for a tap-in and a 4-3 lead. Formby pressed for another and Harry Williams went close, then York's captain was yellow-carded for an offence right under the umpire's nose. He evidently didn't like the decision and on his way off expressed his views in inappropriate terms, resulting in the card being upgraded to red. This made it easier for Formby, and Miles nearly scored from a penalty corner, but then Sam Birtles had to be alert to break up a nasty situation in his circle, smothering the ball then booting clear. Then, with virtually the last touch of the game, Josh Birtles was put in on the break by Friday and scored with a vicious reverse-stick shot from just inside the circle. Formby 6 - West Derby 4 Formby took on near-neighbours West Derby in the quarter-final of the Lancashire Cup on Sunday, the pitch just thawing enough from overnight frost to allow the game to take place. The Formby side was somewhat depleted with Felipe Davis-Guzman available only as a spectator (though he'll be ok for next weekend), and James Riley, Sachin Govind and Ryan Baker moving up from the 2nd XI as Wright and Nash were unavailable. The difference in class was pretty apparent as Formby were much the quicker side, and led at half-time by 4 Connel Capper short corner goals from 4 attempts. Unfortunately they has also lost Baker, who tried and succeeded in heading a deflected ball into the circle over the bar, but ended up receiving the same Sharma treatment for a similar injury - a cut between the eyes - that Felipe Davis-guzman had suffered the day before. He played no further part, leaving Formby with just one sub for the remainder of the match. In the second half, Formby started well and won a couple of corners where they tried out one or two of their more exotic routines, without success, and forced a couple of good saves from former Formby 'keeper Tom McManus. They were taken somewhat aback when the umpire awarded the visitors a penalty stroke after 15 minutes, which made it 4-1, then conceded a string of penalty corners which resulted at the third attempt in West Derby reducing the arrears to 4-2. A minute later Formby restored their lead to 3 as Sharma was fouled and the quick-thinking Birtles took the hit, made his way into the circle and crashed the ball into the bottom left corner with the defenders mere spectators. The defence then relaxed too much and Sam Birtles had to save, then watch as the rebound was tucked away to make it 5-3. 5 minutes later alarm bells were ringing as West Derby made it 5-4 with 9 minutes left, but Formby went straight back to the other end and excellent control from Sharma and Ricky Davis-Guzman saw the latter set up Friday for one of his trade-mark tap-ins at the far post to make it 6-4 and put Formby through to the semi-final away to Didsbury Northern in a repeat of last year's final.

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