ROCESTER Under-11s Hornets notched their first win of the season against a stubborn Woodville side that were also looking for their first three points, having drawn their opening game 4-4.
Lining up in a 3-4-1 formation, the Hornets were keen to get their first win in Burton Albion Division Four of the Burton Junior League.
They began the first half extremely brightly and were on the attack almost instantly – maintaining possession in their opponents’ half.
Hornets were beginning to pepper the Woodville goal with good shots from Conor O’Sullivan and Owen Carrington.
Any thoughts of attack Woodville had were immediately quelled by the Hornet’s defence of Tom Hardy, Oliver Davies and O’Sullivan and keeper Jack Wright.
Hornets were pushing forward at every opportunity, with central defender and captain O’Sullivan particularly effective in the Woodville half.
Further shots from Carrington and Bobby Samuel had the Woodville defence on their knees but they were unable to find the back of the net.
Nathan Winstanley was presented with two opportunities for shots but he was thwarted both times by the Woodville keeper.
Some fine passing from Callum Ratcliffe to Hardy started a great move that ended with a shot on goal from Ratcliffe which went agonisingly over.
Namesake Callum Stockdale was having a fine game, too, with a strong and energetic midfield performance, dropping back to help defend when required.
Woodville launched two counter-attacks in quick succession. The first was defended well by Hardy and Stockdale, the second had the Hornets defence beaten but they could only hit the post and the ball was collected easily by Wright.
Woodville were starting to find their feet and keeper Wright was called into action with two fine saves.
The first half ended goalless.
The second half started very much like the first with the Hornets in attacking mood, with quick shots from Carrington, Samuel and Winstanley.
Against the run of play, Woodville took the lead when one of their forwards ghosted through the Hornets defence and hit a low angled shot into the back of the net.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Hornets and it took some resolve to get back on track.
Heads did not drop and some fine passing movements and runs, especially from Liam Fletcher, O’Sullivan and George Mothershaw, enabled Hornets to keep the pressure on.
Seventeen minutes into the half and on a trademark skilful run, Samuel was unceremoniously upended by a Woodville defender. Samuel stepped up to take the free kick and expertly fired it into the Woodville net.
The game was now finely balanced at 1-1. Woodville started to launch long shots at the Hornets goal which keeper Wright was more than a match for.
Hornets, too, were making great runs and forcing saves from the Woodville keeper. Shortly afterwards, Hornets were awarded another free kick outside the Woodville area.
Up stepped a confident Samuel. This time he cleverly fed the ball to O’Sullivan, who took two touches and fired the ball into the net – sparking jubilant celebrations with his team-mates.
The relief at the final whistle was there for all to see.
Man of the Match was Callum Stockdale after a fine debut.