|Date||22 September 2018|
|Venue||Small Heath Leisure Centre|
|Result||W 5 - 4|
Yardley 5 West Bidgford 4
In their final warm-up game before the rigours of the new Open League Yardley fought back from a 0-3 situation to grab a confidence-boosting win.
Yardley gave debuts to brothers Jahed and Islam, having stepped up from the Badgers.
Skipper Zach Jarvis also made a return from injury and welcomed back Ed Carraway for his first game of the season.
The game started with West Bridgford on the front foot, taking a grip on the game and forcing the tempo. Their attacking persistence earned them a short corner from which they made no mistake to take the lead. Yardley settled into their game and with Zach and Ed looking to release Kyle down the right flank. Chances came and went but none really threatened the keeper. It almost felt like a throw-back to last season with the visitors running through the midfield to claim two more goals well before half time. But in contrast to our start last season, Yardley still looked to push forward and challenge the West Bridgford defence. Noor Zaman, seized a chance to shoot low from just inside the ‘D’ to pull one back.
This set off an inspiring resurgence. Alex Makepeace came on to help control the midfield and distribute a pass which led to Jeevan, running unmarked into the shooting circle to set up Noor for his and the team’s second.
This now meant that it was all to play for in the second half. The clear message was for Yardley to continue pressing and win the 50-50 balls. This they endeavoured to do and after a little over five minutes into the half Shawqi played a great ball across the ‘D’ to enable Noor to complete his hat-trick. Finding the right places at the right time seemed to be working well for Yardley at this stage and from a great situation, Islam swept the ball over the keeper from close range to grab his debut goal.
In spite of now being in the lead, Yardley still found West Bidgord eager to press forward and eventually grab their own fourth goal to level the scores again, at 4-4. With the game opening up, Noah, Ed and Mat were able to pick their spots and find space. Noah and Zach combined well to find Alex who played a lovely through-ball to Jeevan. His forward run from near the half-way line bought no pressure from the opposition and he continued into the ‘D’ to slot home into the corner to claim the winning goal in a great contest of hockey.
Next week, Yardley commence their Open League campaign away at Kings Heath Pickwick 2nd X1