With May 7th being the opening of shooting season McDonald Stratford were looking for at least a brace of goals from their forwards and a win to get them moving on the table.
FC Western were not going to be an easy team and had already had a few wins themselves.
The game started with a flurry of possession changes as both teams got the measure of each other. Jordon Savage had taken over as keeper and achieved some spectacular saves, denying Western an early advantage. Stratford put the opposition keeper under pressure which paid off when a cross in front of goal was put into the net by Ros Sombath.
This was the encouragement Stratford needed to lift their efforts further and increase a narrow lead. A contested high ball and two players clashed heads with Duane Leggett leaving the field to have a gash attended to.
Stratford held their slender lead in the second half against a renewed Western attack with Junming Ma and Stu Hawkless meeting every onslaught head-on. An unlucky roll of the ball off a terrific initial save from Savage bounced off the post into goal, with another giving Western the lead. Stratford moved the ball well, used possession to good effect and had an advantage of speed but just couldn't get the ball into the goal. In the end one goal denied them a deserved point. Final score 2:1 to Western. McDonald Stratford still have a mathematical chance to make the division top six. They take on Inglewood next Saturday at home.
Dairymaster Stratford U13s took on New Plymouth Girls High School (NPGHS) Junior A.
Both teams put everything they had into the game. Stratford showed good team work with smart use of the ball when they had possession. In defence Emma Johns and Ben Wilson took control. Jordon Rogers and Lucca Kowaleski worked well upsetting NPGHS's plays and feeding attacking ball out to wingers Morgan Mills and Adam Belk. Brody Savage and Sam Harris brought some exceptional attacking moves to the game.
NPGHS scored first managing two goals before half time but Stratford came out fighting in the second half and had the scores level. Fitness may have let Stratford down. Final score 5:2 to NPGHS but Dairymaster Stratford went home knowing they had played an exceptional first game.