Gondoliers V Wokingham Final Score Won 9-4 (Sturgess 7, Howells 1 (+ 7 assists) Mullins 1)
Chris Basey took the captaincy in the absence of Tom Carney and went with the 2/4/4 combo that was so successful against Oxford last week. Howells and Sturgess up front, Kuhle, Mullins, Regan and Belshaw in midfield with Windsor Lewis, Savage, Tonks and Toplas in defence. Kindly Josh joined the Gondoliers for his second appearance in goal in the absence of Adrian and Mark Woodward, and has kindly agreed to play more in the future for the Gondos.
Chris Basey recovering from a cold decided to sit the first half out and manage from the sidelines.
The game started at a tremendous pace with a great deal of pressure applied by the rampaging Gondos. Unlike last week this early pressure resulted in goals galore for the Gondos with some great interplay between Howells, Sturgess and the advancing midfield. We were 4-0 up within 15 minutes, 3 from open play and one from a well timed strike from Mullins off a short corner. Mullins generates time on the ball with his finesse and must be the natural short corner taker for the Gondos going forward.
In the second quarter either Wokingham woke up or the Gondos went to sleep. A few uncharacteristic errors crept into the Gondos defence, however it should be noted that the Wokingham halves started to pass the ball around well and shocked the Gondos with 2 quick goals. Half time score I think was 4-2 but it could have been 5-2.
At half time, a hobbling Dave Toplas was substituted by Basey and and the game seemed to open up with pressure at both ends. There was plenty of room in midfield which presented opportunities for both teams. The difference was the precision of the strikers with Howells and Sturgess once again combining very well to slice open their defence. More goals galore for both teams with the final score 9-4.
To me the most memorable goal of the day was Mark Howells. Savage took a 23 hit out and aimed for Windsor Lewis in mid field. Shouting leave it as he struck it, W-L stepped over the ball and it reached Sturgess up front. Sturgess decided to run with it to the goal drawing out their keeper. Howells lurked by the goal surrounded by 2 defenders. The keeper was sold when Sturgess slipped it across to him and with his giraffe like reach he got a touch on it and sent it trickling into the goal.
Whilst the game was not quite as satisfying as last weeks win over Oxford as our marking was not as precise and we let them have too much room in midfield. On another day, it could have been an entirely different outcome. The score line did not necessarily reflect the game. Next week we travel to Winchester and look forward to their curry! Well done Gondos.