HARTSHILL Strollers crashed out of the WFU national tournament at Stamford, Lincolnshire, on Sunday, August 16.

It was a bitter pill to swallow after hopes had been high of progressing further in the competition.

But – in truth – our boys played below their usual high standards and the opposition was better than expected.

Defeat is said to teach us more than victory and we still have much to learn.

We have to be better – and to realise that we are perhaps not as good as we think – or at least hope – we are in a national context.

Hartshill kicked off the first of three 15-minute matches – against LPF of Leicester - in good spirits but conceded a goal in the first 5 minutes.

We hit back quickly with a goal from the inevitable Gary Davis, two minutes later.

It seemed as though our sluggish start had been shaken off and that we would go on to win.

But, after 10 minutes, we went behind and the final score remained 1-2.

Undaunted, we immediately went back into action with the second game against Netherton – the one in Peterborough, not Dudley – and, in a dour battle, we finished 0-0.

It could have been different is Mark Grazier’s shot in the dying minutes of the game had gone in, instead of hitting the post.

Still optimistic, we took on Mansfield and quickly – and unexpectedly – found ourselves 0-4 down, Gary pulling one back in the final minute. 1-4 final wistle.

The outcome – in terms of goals conceded – could have been far worse but for the outstanding goalkeeping of Derek Hughes whose performances even drew praise from the referees.

For the record, LPF won the round, with three wins out of three.





WFU National Tournament at Stamford, Lincolnshire


This picture taken in the 0-0 draw with Netherton