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Men's 2's - Marton Furness 2's (H) - 1-1 (D)

Date: Saturday 7th October 2023, 10:15

MOM: M Hibbert

Goals: P Molyneux

In a clash that truly embodied the adage "a game of two halves," Stokesley Men's 2nd XI faced off against Marton Furness 2nd XI in what can only be described as a rollercoaster of a match.

The first half saw Marton Furness dominating possession and territorial advantage, so much so that Stokesley struggled to make any sort of attacking penetration. Indeed, Stokesley failed to venture into the opponent's D even once, a telling statistic that illustrated their offensive shortcomings. Marton Furness capitalised on their dominance, slotting home a well-deserved goal 10 minutes before the interval. Despite the onslaught, Stokesley stayed in contention, largely due to a series of phenomenal saves by goalkeeper Matt Hibbert. While the defence held its own, the rest of the squad seemed off the pace.

The half-time team talk by Heayns was far from standard fare. Calling for an immediate uplift in energy and focus, his words evidently struck a chord. The team in yellow took to the pitch for the second half with renewed vigour, quickly establishing a more competitive stance.

A brilliant midfield manoeuvre from Middlemiss set up Molyneux just outside the attacking area. Demonstrating deft skill, Molyneux unleashed a reverse-stick shot that narrowly missed its mark, despite a valiant effort from the advancing Anderson. Not to be deterred, Stokesley continued to apply pressure, earning several penalty corners in quick succession. The much-needed equaliser finally came when a flawlessly executed set-play saw Armitstead inject the ball to Heayns at the top of the D, and then Molyneux dispatched it venomously into the bottom right corner.

As the match approached its closing stages, it was anyone's game. Another short corner provided Adam Derry with a golden opportunity, which unfortunately he couldn't convert. While the performance may not have matched Stokesley's recent high standards, the team's fighting spirit to claw their way back into contention was laudable.

With Vice-Captain Wallace sidelined for several weeks, his absence in the midfield was palpable and will no doubt be a concern going forward.

Facing another fixture against Hild Bede in less than 24 hours, Stokesley's young team will have to hit the ground running if they aim to secure a favourable result. Their capacity to lift their game when it matters will certainly be put to the test once again.

Next game: Hild Bede 1's Home (Sunday 8th October 2023, 10:15 push back)

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