Slow Start soon overturned
By Stephen Tabb
Danks at the Double
On Wednesday evening, Sils welcomed back a few players who had not played for a while, most notably Jim Goldstraw, Nick Danks and Nol Mortimer.
Perhaps due to these returning players, and also due to a couple of other "rusty" starts from Stephen Tabb and Chris Thompson (who have also not played a huge amount in recent weeks), Sils did not start particularly well. Pershore, with their younger legs in the middle of the pitch making all the early running, took the lead after 5 minutes - Tabb failing to pick up his man on the home team's right hand side, and the Pershore right-midfielder making the most of the opportunity, crossing for the home centre-forward to fire home.
At this point, the Sils raised their game, particularly defensively, and made it much harder for the home side to find their players. This led to more possession, with Mark Dovey beginning to dictate things in the middle of the pitch, combining with skipper Gary Perkins to help drive the team forwards. Tabb tried to make amends for his earlier poor marking by having the first shot of the game and whilst he was unable to trouble the keeper, he did then win a PC soon afterwards, which Adam Kent despatched with aplomb into the bottom corner with a crisp straight strike.
Sils now knew they had the measure of the opposition and carried on working hard to create some more chances but the home keeper was equal to shots from Mortimer, Danks and Kent and the teams went in at half-time level. The team talk, for once, contained some sensible, tactical talk, though it would not be a proper Vets team-talk if it did not contain some entertainment, and Kent was mildly put out to be informed by the skipper that, having scored one from one with his straight strike at a Penalty Corner in the first half, he probably should not try it again as it was unlikely to be successful. As it happened, this theory was never tested as Sils failed to win any further PCs for the rest of the game!
The second half belonged to Sils, though Thompson and Steve Aylin were called upon on occasions to make very timely interceptions/tackles to ensure Pershore breaks did not lead to more.
Five minutes into the second half, the Sils took the lead, Simon Russell doing most of the hard work down the right, to enable Dovey to get a shot away, which whilst initially saved by the home keeper, Nick Danks pounced upon the ball to force it home from close range.
With the visitors dominating possession, and at times playing some very nice hockey, they struggled to break the home defence which began to sit deeper and deeper, and it looked as if the one goal difference would be all the Sils could manage. However, with ten minutes to go, Sils were able to make the scoreline more comfortable, again Simon Russell was the architect, reacting to a loose ball in the D to allow Adam Kent to get a shot away, and again, the end result was for Nick Danks to react to the initial save to score his second and the team's third.
A pleasing victory, with 8 hardy souls making the pub afterwards (5 more than the oppo) - and this time Gary did not venture near the bar, so the horror of last year's visit to the hostelries of Evesham was avoided.