STRS win away at Old Swinford
After starting slowly in the last two games, Tommies were determined to start brightly against our West Midlands opponents…and what a start! STRS dominated territory and possession, playing the ball around with fluency and accuracy. The attacking midfield duo of Mainwaring-Taylor and Ahmed were controlling the middle of the park, with Ahmed’s touch and skill making him look untouchable at times. It was Ahmed who provided a lovely through ball, slicing the OSH centre backs in two, for Price to open the scoring with a deft finish with the outside of the boot. OSH could not handle the STRS pressure and pace; any sign of an attack was snubbed out by defensive midfield dynamo Higgs. The lead was soon doubled as the lightning Bosano found Mainwaring-Taylor inside the box, only for him to draw the keeper and selflessly slip the ball square to Chadwick to slot home on his first appearance of the season. STRS welcomed Ranken back into the defence, and his leadership and calmness ensured OSH could not get a foothold in the game. Further pressure from the travelling side resulted in neat interplay between Price and Ahmed, leading to Price coolly dinking the ball past the keeper for a 3-0 advantage. The first half scoring was by no means complete – Price once again delivered a trademark pinpoint corner to the far post for Ranken to slam the ball into the net. At this point, OSH rallied and took on a more aggressive style of play, with the second half ending in a manner reminiscent of a somewhat ill-tempered game here last year. Two goals in quick succession for the hosts, one being a lucky, scruffy shot off the bar, meant that STRS only held a two goal lead at halftime. The Tommies players endured more rough tactics and unfortunately conceded a third goal, with keeper Holder unsighted and unable to stop a shot through a body of players in the box. Nerves were kicking in. OSH were then awarded a fortunate free kick on the edge of our area; the resulting attempt sailed wayward over the bar but the referee insisted on a retake as the defensive wall broke ranks to charge the kick down a fraction early. The next attempt was much better, Sod’s Law, and the ball flew past Holder. The equaliser only served to act as a rallying call to the away side, galvanising them for a grandstand finish. The well marshalled STRS defence resisted any home pressure and with four minutes left on the clock, the waves of attack from Tommies led to Ranken playing the ball through to the STRS attack – a slight deflection from an OSH defender resulted in the ball landing at the feet of Chadwick, who kept his cool and finished with accuracy. The boys were able to control the remaining time and ended up worthy winners of a hard fought battle. Mr Jobson would like to congratulate them, not only for their win, but for the way they conducted themselves in a game that could have got ugly. We hold our heads high as gentlemen.