IT WAS another frustrating week for Stafford HC firsts who, despite a good performance, went down 3-2 to Bloxwich HC.
Bloxwich were definitely the best team that Stafford have faced so far this campaign, but Stafford matched them in most departments.
The honours were even early on with neither side being able to create any clear cut chances.
Bloxwich took the lead after a quick attack overran Stafford at the back and a smart one-two allowed the Bloxwich forward to slot the ball home at the far post.
There was no further score up until half time, Stafford being grateful to Brad Evans in goal for some smart saves at a penalty corner. He was Stafford's best player on the day, later being awarded the man of the match award.
After the break, Stafford were guilty of a slow start, Bloxwich winning an early penalty corner. The first shot was saved well by Evans, but the follow-up fell kindly to a Bloxwich player who walked it into the goal.
This goal seemed to wake Stafford up and coach Dave Evans pushed three players up front which Bloxwich struggled to cope with.
Adam Kyle was at the heart of all Stafford's attack and duly won their first penalty corner of the game. The ball was switched right to Kyle who played it to the far post, and Ben Hollands deflected it into the net.
One soon became two when a long pass from Giles Rowden found Dan Howe, whoneatly beat his marker and rounded the keeper for a great equaliser.
Unfortunately, Stafford then fell to a sucker punch when a defensive pass was intercepted by Bloxwich, and a quick hit to the far post found a player unmarked for a disappointing goal from a Stafford point of view. Despite a frantic finish Stafford could not find a late equaliser.
Another good performance without a point, but confidence is high within the Stafford ranks.
This weekend they are without a fixture, returning on October 27 at home to Market Drayton, who have the leaguefs top scorer in Brendan Jones with eight out of the ten goals scored by the Shropshire side so far.
Other scores: Men: West Bromwich 1sts 5 Barlaston 2nds 2, Rugeley 1sts 1 Ludlow 1sts 8.
Bloxwich 2nds 1 Stafford 2nds 2, Market Drayton 2nds 1 Stone 2nds 3, Barlaston 2nds 3 Tamworth 2nds 1.
Stone 3rds 2 Wednesbury 3rds 6, Pershore 3rds 2 Stafford 3rds 2; Cetral Legaue, Burton 7ths 3 Stone 4ths 0.
œ Fixtures for October 20 include: Midlands One, Stone 1sts v Notts University.
West Mids Two, Barlaston v Yardley, Rugeley v Oswestry.
West Mids One (2nds), Stafford v Bromsgrove, Streetly v Stone. West Mids Two (2nds), West Brom v Barlaston.
West Mids One (3rds), Stone v Hampton-in-Arden; West Mids Two (3rds), Stafford v Bromsgrove.
Central League (North West 2), Old Wulfs 4ths v Stafford 4ths, Streetly 4ths v Stone 4ths.