Looking to build on last weeks strong home win, Bristol and West 2s travelled north to face a Cheltenham side that had run our promotion rivals close in the earlier parts of the season. With 1st and 3rd place in the league playing each other we knew it was a game we couldn't afford to drop points in.
In typical 2s style we started with pace and flair and after a few narrowly missed opportunities (some over the bar from 1 yard out) deservedly went ahead through a tight angled piledriver from Josh Tester. Soon, after more great work down the right hand side from Josh and a goal mouth scramble from Varney, the ball found its way back to the P-spot where Tester cooly dispatched a reverse shot into the net.
Cheltenham, not willing to go down without a fight earned themselves a dubious short corner after what seemed like a perfectly legal tackle from Si Florio. The following drag flick found the roof of the net, clipping goalkeeper RJ's stick on the way through.
We went into half time only 1 goal ahead and after some oversized orange slices and a motivating team talk from captain Si Barrett we started the second half looking to put the game to bed.
We soon restored our 2 goal cushion after the ball was pinched in midfield. Phil 'Up the Browner' Brown threaded Varney in down the right handside. The keeper, clearly expecting a fierce hit, was thrown when Varney deftly lifted the ball into his pads. The keeper then stumbled backwards into his own goal pouring the ball over the line in slapstick fashion.
Very shortly after, we had a switch off from everyone front to back and Cheltenham clawed another goal back.
Determined to not let this game turn scrappy Patch seized the initiative, driving across the top of the D from the left eventually releasing a hit from the top. The shot was well saved away to the keepers left but only as far as Varney who, like a 2 yard assasain, pushed the ball back towards the goal. No one really knows how fast this effort on goal was travelling but some say that the keeper was done by the pace of the shot as it dribbled through his legs.
Again Patch stamped his authority on the game threading in top goal scorer Dan Lusmore for his trademark goal. With godlike hands in the D, Lusmore sat down 3 Cheltenham defenders and the keeper before slotting home to make it 5-2.
At this point we lost our heads a little with two quick fire green cards. Platty recieving the first after a little argy bargy (having mentioned in the changing rooms before the game that he was due one). Josh Tester received the second after querying a decision with the umpire. Soon after we conceded again.
Josh, determined to make up for his 2 minute bench warming session found a foot in the D and we unleashed 'The Unstoppable Short Corner Routine'. Injected by Patch, stopped at the top by Skip, slipped left by Dan and fired back across by Tester to the right post for a Varney deflection to complete his hatrick. 60% of the time it works everytime.
Our final goal came from some tidy work down the right from Varney, pulled back to Phil who blasted a shot towards the back post where Joe John pinched it on/over the line. 48% of people thought it had already crossed the line but 52% felt that Joe got the last touch and as we live in a democracy Joe was awarded the goal and Phil had to settle for another assist.
Cruising to a comfortable win Platty decided to give them another goal by passing to their attacker from a 16. There was also another near miss when Platty squared the ball across our goal to give RJ an unwanted touch. The game finished 7-4 and we stay 2nd in the table after Stroud beat Gloucester City 3-0.
Knowing we have a tough game next week at home to Stroud, Si Barrett has assigned us some homework but we all know that when we play our 2s hockey we can beat anyone...probably.
Man of the Match: Pakchum 'Hatrick of Assists' Tse
Dick of the Day (and match report author): Tom 'Scored a Bad Hatrick' Varney