Verde Recreo West Hockey League
De Cymru Division 1
THIS being the first league match of the 2022/23 league season and the first played at Abergavenny’s new ‘home’ pitch at Monmouth Leisure Centre it was not surprising that both sides took some time to settle, reports TREVOR SCOTT.
Abergavenny, playing in a 4-4-2 formation, made an encouraging start with attacks down the left flank, but Penarth responded in turn and within ten minutes were a goal ahead through McKee because of poor marking in the hosts’ circle.
Penarth gradually upped the tempo of their game increasing possession through sharp passing and gaps in the home side’s midfield began to appear.
Fortunately, a Penarth penalty corner came to nothing.
It was clear that one of Abergavenny’s tactics was to counter attack by using a long ball to striker Anthony Clements, but he was increasingly isolated up front. But with Kevin Phillips and James Gaitskill managing the midfield Abergavenny gradually began to recover from their early setback.
However, Penarth pressed forward earning themselves another penalty corner which was well saved by home keeper Rhys Pritchard.
Two crucial intercepts by Joe Sevenoaks then created a chance for Abergavenny to level the score with captain Liam Wade setting up a snap shot for Clements which was just off target.
But as half-time approached Penarth reached the Abergavenny D and were awarded a penalty corner.
The first shot was saved but not cleared and Parkinson scored from close range for a 2-0 lead.
Possession in the second half was more equal with both sides favouring the right flank for attacks.
Abergavenny’s midfield became a wasteland and Penarth were able to use the full width of the pitch.
Nevertheless, Abergavenny persevered with Gaitskill in particular outstanding in distribution, as chances were squandered by both sides with penalty corners going to waste.
It was end to end stuff at this stage but both teams were tiring – especially Abergavenny who had no substitutes.
But they pressed forward and at yet another penalty corner Wade had his shot saved at full stretch by the Penarth keeper Jewess.
In a subsequent attack, slick passing to Clements led to a scoring chance, but the shot went wide.
Then McKee scored again for Penarth from open play, their stick skills making the difference. At one stage there were ten Abergavenny players in and around their quarter of the pitch leaving Clements alone in the Penarth half.
Abergavenny did not capitulate and launched a foray into the Penarth circle earning another penalty corner.
Wade’s reverse strike was saved by Jewess, and Penarth almost immediately counter attacked and Mottram clinched the win for the visitors.
But Abergavenny were not finished. Showing perseverance and determination, with five minutes to go, they earned their consolation goal as Clements made no mistake.
Gaitskill and Phillips received joint ‘Man of the Match’ awards for Abergavenny.
Abergavenny – Pritchard, Corken N, Banks, Sevenoaks, Samuels, Corken R, Phillips, Gaitskill, Wade (c), Davies, Clements