Pembroke County - 5

FOLLOWING on the heels of last week's draw against Whitchurch, Abergavenny were dealt a bitter blow on the weekend as they suffered a master-class in the art of hockey delivered by a team on top of their game.

Abergavenny's younger players were much in evidence this week, with Alex Morgan playing in the centre of defence, and Issac Pritchard at left back. Geraint Davies and Tom O' leary on the right, and Kevin Phillips and Alex Mac in the centre midfield.

Tom Johnsone was playing at left midfield, with Duncan Melville and Chris Bu completing the forward line.

However, Pembroke County it seemed were operating on another level completely, and within five minutes fast and furious hockey was the order of the day.

Almost immediately Pete Bartlett's goal was under siege, the first coming from a fantastic reverse stick shot that the Aber 'keeper and captain had no chance of saving.

With the Pembroke midfield running free, O' Leary stepped back into defence to try and stem the tide, but aggressive tackling gave away one too many short corners that were duly dispatched by the skilled visitors.

Abergavenny had their chances halfway through the first half, but Duncan Melville was desperately unlucky to miss a superbly struck ball to the left post, and was unable to convert a solid cross from Davies, now playing on the right wing.

A further failure to touch the ball in from the left post saw the town team trail by two goals at half time.

A revision in strategy saw a revamp in defence, with O' Leary being pushed up to centre forward, and Davies returning to his more familiar left back position.

Tom Johnsone, despite having a good game at left midfield, was moved to right back and the game resumed.

The first part of the second half was much more even, with Phillips, Mac and Bu all getting into the game and giving good performances, but as Abergavenny legs tired, Pembroke were able to use their subs bench too good advantage - bringing fresher legs into the midfield and forward line.

Before long they had added a third and a forth, the forth being a very skilled attack from a set piece.

Even the Abergavenny players applauded the skill of the centre forward in picking up the right back who remained alone and untroubled on the right post.

Pembroke were finally able to get their fifth just before the final whistle, in another skilled piece of set play, that a tired Abergavenny were just not able to defend against.

The only unsavoury moment in the game was what appeared to be a deliberately dangerous ball into goal after the whistle had gone. It was a cricket style shot that fortunately only managed to hit Bartlett on the helmet.

Despite this the game was played in good spirit, and on this occasion Abergavenny were well beaten by a superb team, playing at the height of their game – after all this is the first game of the season where Abergavenny have failed to score.