Our opening game of the season, at South Bromsgrove High School was met with sunshine and a very warm day.
Team selection was limited due to illness and injury. As this is a new club, the players were making their league debut under manager David Hopkins. The game started competitively with both teams battling in midfield. Hayes striker Fabian Mendez put pressure on the FC Stratford goalkeeper forcing a back pass. The keeper slipped and his clearance was poor, leaving winger John McKinney to slot the ball home from distance into the empty net.
Ten minutes later, McKinney was on the score sheet for a second time. A four man passing sequence led to Mckinney cutting from inside the wing and finishing superbly.
Fabian Mendez, had picked up and injury and was replaced by Errol Powell. Hayes struggled to re adjust, allowing FC Stratford back into the game and there pressure paid off. Defenders Daryll Foster and Neil Peplow between them fouled FC Stratford’s striker and both received yellow cards. FC Stratford’s Nick Priest slotted the penalty home into the corner past the Hayes keeper Kevin Featherstone.
Hayes battled and regained their dominance and were awarded a free kick. From the set piece Neil Peplow made up for the penalty decision by heading the ball over FC Stratford’s keeper into the back of the net.
Half Time: West Heath Hayes 3 FC Stratford A 1
The second half started similar to the first with both teams trying to dominate the midfield area. Hayes midfielders Darren Dunn and Jake Chinn started to gain the control of play which allowed Keiron Cook the freedom of creativity. Cook was soon on the score sheet to put the game beyond doubt and was quick to add a second after an excellently executed passing move.
Craig Richards replaced goal scorer Peplow and striker Jamie Taylor switching with Jason Quinn who is recovering from injury. Hayes made there last sub with defender Andy Aitken coming on for goal scorer John McKinney. Aitken was pushed forward as a winger and used his pace to put a wonderful ball into the box with Taylor finishing clinically.
Hayes played exceptionally well. FC Stratford looked a good side but lost key battles in the game at important times. The return game will be a much closer affair at their home ground. Kieran Cook was named man of the match by manager David Hopkins. The award could have easily gone to McKinney who also hit a brace.
Full Time: West Heath Hayes 6 FC Stratford A 1
Come support your new local team West Heath Hayes when we host Shipston Excelsior Reserves on the 9th September. Kick off 2:30pm at South Bromsgrove High School, Charford Road, Bromsgrove, B60 3NL.
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