STAFFORD HC finished the first half of the West Midlands One league season with a disappointing 4-2 home defeat against Leamington HC.
The Riverway club were forced to make a couple of changes at the back due to unavailability, and the unfamiliar partnerships struggled to cope with well organised opponents.
The first goal came when Stafford missed a number of tackles, the first shot was blocked but the rebound was put in on the reverse stick side.
Stafford were able to create some chances and John Peatfield scored with a fine chipped shot after a Randall Moore pass. Unfortunately, Stafford then let in another two sloppy goals after more missed tackles but did pull one back before half time with a trade mark Randall Moore drag flick at a penalty corner.
Stafford went into half time feeling that they were well and truly in the game but that changed after half time when keeper Brad Evans was red carded for dissent after a penalty stroke was awarded.
Captain Richard Buka put the pads on and amazingly saved the penalty! Unfortunately, Stafford eventually conceded a final goal after John Peatfield received a yellow card and Stafford were down to nine players.
Despite some heroic efforts from Ben Hollands and Charlie Trotter in midfield Stafford were unable to reply.
Stafford are fourth in the table at the half-way mark. There have been some big positives but sadly the lack of discipline at crucial times has cost Stafford dearly.
The local side will be looking to put things right after the Christmas break and maintain a push for promotion.
In the Staffs Ladies' League. Stone seconds faced stronger opposition than expected in a rearranged fixture against bottom of the league Stafford thirds. With the luxury of experienced substitutes, Stone was able to vary their configuration to give players a rest. All but the defensive back line were swapped for fresh legs and it gave them the edge as a tiring game continued.
The first goal came from a well-executed short corner around 20 minutes in through Emma Dutton.
After the break the Stone attack stunned the opposition with a speedy break and Nicole Lockett rounded off a fine five-player move.