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Men's 2's - Hild Bede 1's (H) - 1-1 (D)

Date: Sunday 8th October 2023, 10:15

MOM: M Armitstead

Goals: K O'Connor

In their second match within 24 hours, Stokesley Men's 2nd XI faced a formidable Hill Bede side. Fresh from their previous day's performance, Stokesley started with a sense of urgency, immediately pushing Hill Bede onto the back foot and crafting early opportunities. The ball circulated fluently through the midfield, benefiting from some effective early interplay.

Defensively, the team was bolstered by the return of Gavin Coates, who lined up alongside George Walker, Harry Bell, and Dan Walker to form a resolute backline.

Their efforts soon paid dividends when Stokesley's first genuine opportunity resulted in a goal. Harry Bell initiated a robust drive from the back, delivering the ball to Benji Gate, who in turn played a beautifully weighted pass to Heayns just outside the D. Heayns skilfully outmanoeuvred his marker and slipped the ball across for an the advancing O’Connor.

However, after this bright start, the momentum shifted markedly. Eerily mirroring last season's trends, Stokesley seemed to adopt a more defensive posture after taking the lead. This tactical shift allowed Hill Bede's youthful side to intensify their pressure, generating a flurry of chances. Had it not been for a stellar defensive showing, punctuated by the outstanding tackling of Man of the Match Mark Armitstead, Stokesley could have found themselves in deep water.

Hill Bede eventually broke through just before half-time, converting sustained pressure into a close-range goal to level the scores.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Hill Bede dictating play and keeping Stokesley penned back in their own half. Despite an uptick in work rate from Stokesley, the team struggled to transition effectively from defence to midfield, lacking the tactical finesse to break Hill Bede's stranglehold.

Although they managed to avoid defeat, Stokesley know that a more challenging test awaits them next week as they travel to face Newcastle University. Maintaining their unbeaten streak will require a significant step-up in both performance and tactical awareness.

Next game: Newcastle University 3's Away (Saturday 14th October 2023, 10:00 push back)

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