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Formby mens hockey team win by a brilliant 5-0 against Timperley

Saturday 4th March: Timperley 0-5 Formby

The match didn't start auspiciously, as Formby's defenders appeared to have forgotten they were playing in red and kept passing straight to Timperley men on the Formby 22. Josh Birtles was first, and was lucky that captain Giles Hampson managed to jab the ball onto the advancing player's foot when confronted by 3 attackers on the edge of his circle. Then Harry Williams attempted an aerial out of defence across the field

but found the Timperley centre-forward on the penalty spot, This time Sam Birtles made a good save.

Formby finally managed a couple of well-aimed passes, culminating in a lovely through ball from Will Miles to Ste Wright, but he ignored his manager's instructions to be more accurate on the pitch (following a dressing-room incident when a loose pass from Wright resulted in an American football colliding with the Lord's bonce), by eschewing the shot in favour of an attempt to beat his man in the circle, which wasn't successful.

The ball was smacked back up to the Formby end where Hampson decided it was his turn to pass to an opponent. This time Timperley got past him into the circle, but, under pressure from Sam Birtles, the Timperley man rushed his shot, which flew high over the bar.

Formby, in the shape of Miles and Rob Baxter, gradually started to get a grip on affairs in the midfield, and prompted some much better co-ordinated passing moves. The pair sent Wright clear again and his pull- back to Miles saw him find Baxter, but the move then broke down without threatening the Timperley goal. Jonny Davies intercepted an attempted defensive aerial in the Timperley circle and got a shot away that

brought a save from the 'keeper, though Davis was disappointed not to get a bit more power into his effort. He was on hand again moments later, as he got to a Felipe Davis-Guzman shot that was passing wide of the left post and only just failed to deflect it into the goal, missing the post by an inch or two.

A Wright tackle inside his own 22 started a move between him and Sean Friday down the left touchline that ended with Timperley putting the ball out around half-way. Miles picked up the sideline hit and passed to Baxter who got the ball forward to James Riley near the top of the Timperley circle. The ball was then recycled through Baxter and Miles to Riley who attacked the circle and won the game's first penalty corner off a defender's foot.

Ryan Baker's effort was too near the 'keeper, but at least had the merit of being on target. Formby kept up the pressure and a Josh Birtles pass to Baxter saw him fouled in the circle and Formby had a second penalty corner. This being the 17th since they managed to score from one, it was about time something happened, and it did - Baker switched the ball to Miles who drew a defender and gave it back. Baker's effort was on target and hit a defender on the body for a clear penalty stroke.

It was a surprise to those not "in the know" that Josh Birtles stepped up to take it (Miles being the usual appointee - it transpired that he'd been neglecting his practice recently whilst Birtles had been hard at it, perfecting the drag into the top right corner). Match conditions are hard to reproduce in training, however, and his effort went along the ground to the left, hitting the outside of the post. Unfortunately that doesn't count as a goal!

Baker then decided to utilise a sideline hit in his 22 to award the opposition a long corner, as his attempted pass to Hampson missed the pitch. Fortunately this came rapidly to nothing as Timperley returned the compliment. There followed a passage of midfield sparring before Miles made a good run at the home defence and fired the ball into the circle. It deflected up off a defender and Friday got his stick to the ball in

mid-air but could only help it over the bar.

This prompted a series of green cards, first to Timperley for a shove on Ricky Davis-Guzman, then one to Baker for attempting (and failing!) to break play down in the Timperley half. They had both just expired when Timperley "won" another, for breaking down a Formby attack on their 22. Nothing came of that, but a couple of minutes later Miles found a delicious through ball to Davies, who had made a good lead to the

right. He picked it up cleanly near the back line and pulled the ball back precisely to Baxter, advancing into the top right side of the circle. He made no mistake, firing home into the left corner to give Formby a deserved lead.

They came straight back from the restart, through Hampson, Baxter and Miles, whose advance into the circle brought a defender's foot into play and another penalty corner, duly duffed by Baker (this is becoming too much of a habit for the side, making it one goal in 18 attempts since the last success). Timperley nearly caught Formby on the break from the resulting 16, but a hasty cross flew past the Formby goal before any attacking players could get into a scoring position.

The last 5 minutes of the half brought little goalmouth action and Formby's 1-0 lead held at the break.

The second half started with Timperley getting round the back of the Formby defence and planting the ball on Josh Birtles foot for their first penalty corner. This produced a pretty anaemic effort to give the injector a return pass, which he did nothing on target with. 2 minutes later Baker made an attempt to bring down an aerial in the middle of his half where he appeared to miss the ball comfortably, however, one umpire apparently heard a snick and awarded a sideline ball in the left corner to Timperley, rather to Formby's

surprise, as most of the defenders were getting in position for it to be a Formby ball. Timperley quickly worked the ball into the circle where it hit a defender's foot and they had a second penalty corner. Fortunately, this didn't result in any real danger to the Formby goal, and was easily cleared.

Formby moved the ball quickly forward to Baxter who found Miles advancing in the inside left position. He slipped it forward to Wright in the circle, and he managed to squeeze it between the 'keeper and his near post to make it 2-0. Whether he's heard Physio John Hampson's call to "score" as he received the ball is unlikely! Formby moved up a gear and a Miles pass to Davies brought a foul just outside the circle. The Formby man took it quickly and slipped it to Baxter, who got into the circle but fired straight at the 'keeper.

Timperley gave the ball away almost straight away and Miles played it forward into the circle where Wright turned and shot. The ball struck a Timperley player, who was trying to jump out of the way, in the shinpads. This resulted in a penalty corner award, followed by a discussion between the umpires on Timperley claim as to whether Wright's effort was dangerous. They decided it wasn't and Formby had another chance to pull rabbit out of their hat labelled "ineffective corner routines", which they duly did.

Still, if at first (or at nineteenth) you don't succeed, try again, and Formby had another chance as Miles found Davies on the right with a beautifully-weighted pass. He attacked along the back line and was duly fouled for another penalty corner. This time Formby managed a couple of efforts that were blocked before Hampson picked up the last rebound and slotted it in to end the corner drought and make it 3-0.

There were still 25 minutes to play, and most of those were spent in the Timperley half as the home side tired and Formby's passing game ripped them apart repeatedly. They had yet another penalty corner when a Miles pass to Felipe Davis-Guzman on the right saw him find Riley, whose shot flew dangerously up off a defender's stick. Formby reverted to their unconvincing attempts playbook and duly didn't trouble the 'keeper.

A few minutes later, though, it was 4-0 as Baxter was fouled on his way into the home circle, took the free hit himself, moving to his right, straightened up into the circle and fired a shot that the 'keeper got a glove to, but couldn't stop dropping into his goal.

A rare excursion by Timperley into the Formby 22 saw some impressively calm defensive work between Hampson and Harry Williams, before the former exploded though a tackle attempt which earned the Timperley offender 5 minutes on the naughty step. Formby then continued their attack and Miles got into the circle and won another penalty corner off a foot. They tried to give Baxter a go at his hat-trick, but his shot was blocked.

Formby continued to dominate and it was only a matter of time before they extended their lead, as Miles found Williams breaking on the left and his forward pass found Birtles having an awayday trip into the Timperley circle. He lashed it home from the left for 5-0 and the game was effectively over. There was still time for Ricky Davis-Guzman to thrash a shot over the bar after more good work between Miles and Baxter, then to find his way into the officials' bad books for getting involved in some verbals with the

Timperley captain after being called for a third-party obstruction (possibly the official had an awkward angle, but Ricky had seemed a considerable distance away from his team-mate at the time). That was his 5th yellow card of the campaign.

There was only a minute or so left, during which Davies made a great run in possession past the last defender but was then called back for fouling him when the decision might easily have gone the other way. The win keeps Formby 4th, though they have comfortably the second-best goal difference (after Champions Leeds with 54), though 12 of their 20 have come courtesy of Timperley! No-one else is more than+9

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