Oundle kicked off the new year with a double header on the road to Nottingham. Today’s opponents were Beeston 5s. Oundle had a perfect record against today’s opponent winning all 3 of the previous fixtures. Both teams began the year in the relegation zone and were hoping for a positive start.
Oundle were able to welcome back long absentee Allan Simpson whose presence on the hockey pitch has been sorely missed as he has been nursing a broken toenail for the past few months. Oundle did however have to make do however without regulars, George Martin, the current top scorer and Peter Allett who plays when he wants. Looking around the Oundle team it was clear that a number of shirts had shrunk in the wash.
Lining up for pushback Beeston looked to have included more of their regular players, which was a far cry from the patchwork side which was brought to Oundle earlier in the season. This was evident right from the off as Beeston quickly won the ball back and went straight on the attack down Oundles right hand side. The Beeston forward getting in behind the right back and forcing Youngy into an early save. A let off and an early warning for Oundle which was not heeded when not 2 minutes later from the same position, the Beeston forward again found himself with the ball, this time being able to take the ball around Youngy and score the opening goal.
Despite a disastrous start to the year and game, Oundle were not dismayed and stuck to their tasks, enduring waves of Beeston pressure including short corners. Jimmy ‘Bobby’ Moore making a fantastic block from one short corner using his foot.
Beeston were unable to find another breakthrough and Oundle started growing into the game, despite this, the pressure from Beeston remained strong, but could not mount any attacks of their own. Oundles attacking problem when Flying Rhino enthusiast John ‘Worst Chat’ Pickstone won a foul but was not happy about it. Mouthing off to the umpire earning him a green card, this was upgraded to a yellow due to dissent.
1-0 down and down to 10 men, things looked bleak for Oundle… BUT… cometh the hour, cometh the man. With what can only be described as 3 minutes of absolute chaos, P.Wilson (Phil) stood up and grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck. First of all with a sublime finish, getting past his man and firing into the middle of the goal. A strike that left both sides stunned as Oundle had not looked like scoring up until that point.
Phil Wilson was not done there, from an Oundle 16 a fabulous James Moore pass split Beeston apart, like a hot knife through butter. The pass finding none other than Phil Wilson, who ran at the Beeston defence, managing to get to the back line, he managed to fire in a cross, finding a free Dalley who gleefully poked the ball home from a yard out. Dalley has now earned the nickname of ‘Goal A Game in 2024’.
It was a superb period of play for Oundle scoring 2 shorthanded goals. With Beeston taken completely unawares. With Beeston refinding their feet, they again applied the pressure on Oundle, and it was only a matter of time before the Beeston forward found himself in the D with his back towards goal. He managed to turn his man and strike towards goal, the Oundle defender was able to get a touch on the ball but with a back stick. The strike nestled in the bottom corner however Oundle were saved by the whistle that the umpire had blown moments before. Oundle did not waste their lifeline seeing off the resulting short corner, with half time coming soon after.
The 2nd half started and followed the pattern of most of the 1st half, with Oundle soaking up Beeston pressure. Our current Vice Captain for so many years has been Mr reliable and consistent, never slipping up, it was unfortunate that he decided to replicate Steven Gerrard slipping around the midfield gifting the ball to Beeston who were able to take advantage of the situation and score after a goalmouth scramble.
Beeston nearly did an Oundle following another goalmouth scramble, this time Youngy was there to make the save. Apart from these 2 early chances, The rest of the 2nd half was largely uneventful with Beeston the dominant team in terms of possession and play, with significant pressure being put on Oundles full backs despite this they were unable to break through. Beestons final ball was unable to find the intended targets. Oundles back line was supported by some hard work from the midfield and forwards.
Oundle were able to mount some pressure of their own on the Beeston defence but were unable to capitalise. With the distribution from the centre back partnership of Ellis and Moore providing some excellent, and some not so excellent passing with a few passes to the Beeston centre forwards.
The final whistle blew signalling a 2-2 draw where Beeston could have nicked it on another day. Oundle rode their luck at times and not losing a very important game. Despite this and not training on Tuesday due to a frozen pitch Oundle have every right to be proud of their performance digging in when needed.
Next Saturday is a big 6 pointer. Oundle at Home vs Loughborough Town 3s, the team directly above them in the table. A win would see Oundle climb out of the relegation zone for the first time in many months. We go again. HWTL