Telford’s crucial win brings festive cheer

Telford & Wrekin head coach Steve Floyd praised his side's mentality after coming out on top of a crunch clash to go top of the tree at Christmas.

Steve Floyd
Steve Floyd

Floyd's side overcame a uncharacteristically sloppy start at high-flying Streetly to come out 5-3 winners and leapfrog the hosts at the summit of the Midlands 2 standings.

Vince Richardson's brace hauled Telford level at 2-2 before Tom Gough put the visitors ahead. Noah Higginson then fired in a double – including a goal of the season contender – to seal the crucial points in the final outing before Christmas.

Floyd, whose side have lost just once in two years having won promotion via an unbeaten Midlands 3 campaign last season, admitted confidence is flowing through his side and marvelled at the manner in which they responded to the early setback in Birmingham.

"We did not start too well but showed our true character in how these things don't phase us," said Floyd.

"We played some of our best hockey we've played all season. It was mixed emotions at half-time (2-1 down), I was angry at us getting in that position but proud at how we were playing.

"In the second half we dominated the game.

"We're confident and preparing well. Confidence makes a big difference. We're not being phased by bad patches in games, which everybody gets. We're playing really well."

The new leaders were without goalscoring midfielder Sam Mallett for the big clash, while Richardson came in as a makeshift centre-back.

Telford resume their quest for promotion to Midlands 1 on January 11 when mid-table Loughborough Town come to Wrekin College.

But Floyd will be without South African forward Matt Eaton, who has completed his gap year at the college and returns to his homeland.

The head coach added: "I don't think any player is irreplaceable but it will be another challenge for us after losing Matt."

Higginson's stunner, Telford's fifth of the day, was a sensational virtuoso effort from the 16-year-old local forward.

He slalomed past three defenders before rifling the ball into the top corner to put deserved gloss on the socreline.

"That was pretty special for a 16 year old, he's started playing very well for us," added the head coach.

"It vindicates the confidence put into youth at our club, we've had several (young players) come through and to compete at this level is outstanding."

Floyd believes his side's defensive record, the meanest in the division with 17 goals against after 10 games, is worthy of praise given the departure of key defenders Dominic Ashley and Callum Stacey.

He added: "It's one of the reasons we're at the top. We've conceded six in the last two games but still have the best defensive record.

"It's critical because if you don't concede you've always got a chance.

"But the main thing overall is the team performance. Everybody stepped up which was really pleasing."

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