HARTSHILL Strollers just lost out in a nine-goal thriller against Tamworth on Sunday, August 7.

Our team for the away friendly had an unfamiliar look as the aim was to give a chance to members usually overlooked for competitive matches.

The match – at The Rawlett School, Tamworth – was a challenge for many reasons.

The carpet-like pitch was massive, temperatures on the day were sweltering, and we had only the bare seven players.

By contrast, the home team had a full squad, with three subs, with players rotated regularly.

We knew that Tamworth are a good side with several players having fierce shots.

But Hartshill took the lead early on and were 3-1 up at half-time. When Tamworth turned on the pressure after the break, they went 4-3 up and although we pegged it back to 4-4, tired legs took their toll.

When Tamworth nudged 5-4 ahead shortly before the final whistle, there was nothing left in the tank. Hartshill scorers were Kevin Weston (2) and Mark Grazier (also 2).

But the real heroes of the day were goalkeeper Paul Roche and defenders Dave Shaw and Andy Hewitt.

In the later stages, the match looked like the Battle of the Alamo, with Paul pulling off a string of stunning saves, while Dave and Andy both ended up with bloodied knees from putting in tackle after tackle.

Team manager Mark Grazier said he was proud of all seven players against strong opposition.

Team: Paul Roche, Andy Hewitt, Dave Shaw, Eddie Tromans, Mark Grazier, Kevin Weston, Bob Haywood.

Manager’s Man of the Match: Dave Shaw and Andy Hewitt (jointly).