Stone Old Alleynians 5-2 Hereford Lads Club
There was a late Christmas present for Stone Old Alleynians manager Matt Smith as his side thumped Hereford Lads Club, with winger Matt Thomas the angel on top of the tree after scoring a superb hat-trick.
Smith was delighted with the three points, which see his side sign off from 2014 unbeaten in ten, including eight wins, a run that stretches back to early October.
“I was very happy with the performance today, we’ve been doing well recently but today we had a real edge to us which was extra pleasing. I thought Matt Thomas and Danny Heard were outstanding.
“We really dominated the game in terms of possession and chances, and although we conceded two disappointing goals we scored five, and in all fairness we could have had more, so I’m happy.” said Smith.
The Old Boys had to battle the elements as well as the opposition, as snow had covered the Wellbeing Park pitch, threatening the fixture. But thanks to a number of volunteers and their shovels, the match went ahead.
And all the hard work was repaid midway through the first half when clever link up play between Danny Heard and Luke Askey resulted in the latter gifting Thomas the opportunity to volley home from close range.
But the hosts opener shook the visitors into life, and they equalised shortly after, when a corner was swung deep into the Old Boys box and was headed home by the Hereford skipper.
And that’s how the game remained at half time despite heavy pressure from the hosts, who were unable to capitalise on a number of chances, with Thomas going closest when his powerful drive cannoned off the bar.
There was no respite for the Hereford defence after the break, as Stone turned up the heat with attack after attack, and finally got their reward, when Grant Bigham’s surging right wing run allowed him to cut the ball back to the waiting Thomas who calmly drilled the ball into the roof of the net.
Stone immediately doubled their advantage when Chris Heard rose highest to head home a Paul Griffiths corner.
And then Thomas effectively sealed the win, and the match-ball, when he cut in from the left wing and curled his shot into the far corner from 20-yards.
With the contest effectively over, Alleynians’ keeper Matt Burslem allowed a speculative shot from 35-yards to beat him, which provoked a resurgence from the visitors.
But with time running out, a poor clearance from the visiting keeper fell to skipper Griffiths, who calmly slotted the ball home, to score for the third straight game, and kill off any hope that the visitors had of rescuing a point.
Stone OA: Burslem, Bigham, Askey (Wilson), J Thorley, Whalley, Sinclair (B Thorley), Griffiths (c), C Heard, Thomas, D Heard (James), Lewis