The ladies headed to Hertfordshire expecting a hard battle against a home side who knew a win would take them above us in the table. Likewise we wanted to put last week’s result behind us and get back to getting some points on the board in this hotly contested division.
As the game began, so did the rain. which began as drizzle but ended up at stages more like a monsoon. However the Pies were soon on the front foot, pushing the home side back as the defensive press was working well which was allowing us to move the ball around on a very slick surface. After a couple of penalty corners for the Pies early on, we then broke up a home attack with devastating effect. Good passing and excellent running off the ball allowed us to get into the D where Laura Tibbenham beat the keepers lunge to send the ball towards goal, allowing Olivia Locke to put us a goal up in 6 minutes (certainly a change in fortunes in this respect based on recent games). The ladies were now on top in all areas of the pitch, breaking up attacks and launching fast breaks down both flanks as West Herts were struggling to get to grips with our high tempo game. After a couple of close shaves, we then bagged a 2nd goal on 20 minutes after a lovely run into the D by Amelia Herschel – Shorland, who found Anouska Stott to finish expertly. In truth, we could have been at least 3 up at this stage and it would have been a fair reflection of the game at that stage.
This did fire up the home side into a response and they had us on the back foot towards the end of the half. We were defending well across the pitch and when the home side got shots away, Jade Daly dealt with them well. It was a blow to our chances when after a goal mouth scramble the home side bundled the ball home two minutes before the break.
West Herts were encouraged by their goal and pressed really hard early in the second half ,as we struggled to get our passing game going. We were trying to hit through the defence, as opposed to playing the lovely pass and move hockey that was displayed in the 1st half. In this respect we were creating problem’s for ourselves, as West Herts were now well on top forcing a number of penalty corners as we were on the back foot. Likewise the threat to card players became a reality as we had 2 players awarded green’s as the pressure mounted.
It was no surprise when the home side finally netted from close range to level the scores at 2 each. They then began to press hard for a winner as we were at full stretch at the back with Jade again making some good saves. During this time we also had some promising breaks but could not find the final pass as we flashed the ball across their goal without applying the final touch,
As the game was entering its final stages and a draw looking the likely result, the home side were awarded a penalty corner which they converted to get them into the lead for the first time in the match. In the remaining time left on the clock, we pushed forward looking for the equaliser but could not create that final clear chance on the home goal.
This narrow defeat was tough to take and we feel that after being 2 up we should have got something out of the game.The ladies had put in a 100% effort in a game played in very poor conditions. and its was a shame that we could not take any points back home to the Nest, However we are looking forward to next week’s home game against a high flying Bromley & Beckenham side.