Following on from last weeks fine display against Chelmsford, we welcomed promotion chasing Canterbury to the Nest. The result earlier in the season was a narrow defeat for us ,so we were looking forward to trying to get a positive result against the side with the best defensive record in the division. The game began in blustery conditions with the low sun proving difficult as we defended the Club House End.
The intensity in our performance was there from the first whistle as we moved the ball around with good tempo and we were well on top from the start.. With Canterbury struggling to settle, we began to create some clear chances in front of goal. Firstly Laura Tibbenham fired just wide with the keeper beaten then after a good move we all thought Anouska Stott had opened the scoring only to be denied by an incredible clearance off the line by a Canterbury defender.
Still we pressed and carved out further opportunities as both Eva Harness and Tor Findlay were denied by fine saves from the away side’s keeper but still we could not break the deadlock.
Canterbury grew into the game and imposed their high intensity game on ourselves and were getting joy by hitting through our defensive press and releasing their high running forwards. With Magpies digging in, the mid-field of Jess Howland, Cat Maciver, Charley Seaman, Katherine Ridley and Lucy Field all contributed to keep any danger to a minimum and managing to launch some attacks of our own. Just before half-time Canterbury had a clear site of goal but Alice Wells pulled off a magnificent reflex save to keep things all square at the break. In truth it would have been a fair reflection of the first half if we had taken a lead into the break.The team talk at half time was based on us keeping our intensity high but with a focus on passing the ball with a little more accuracy which would hopefully see us create some more chances. Canterbury came out very much on the front foot at the start of the second half and penned us back into our own half. The opposition had a flurry of 5 penalty corners which we bravely defended with again Alice Wells making some great stops in between the sticks. Likewise the defensive trio of Shev Steggles,Louisa Greenacre and Kath Johnson were showing dogged resistance and skillfully sticking to the task of keeping us on level terms.
Having weathered the storm. we gradually started to get ourselves back into the game as an attacking force as we started to find some joy down both flanks. On 51 minutes, we made the breakthrough following quick thinking from Jess Howland who quickly took a free hit and drove into the D where Anouska Stott rolled the keeper with her back to goal and applied a deft finish for her 5th league goal of the season.
This stung the visitors again into forcing us back as they tried to get back into the game as it entered the final quarter. Once again more penalty corners had to be defended but the pressure finally saw a deserved equaliser as the Kent side levelled from close range with ten minutes to go.
Both sides were pushing for the 3 points and we so nearly regained the lead after lovely build up play saw Anouska round the keeper but from an ever decreasing angle her diving reversed stick effort hit the outside of the post and away to safety.
At the end of a hard fought sporting battle both sides shared the spoils as we added another point to our seasons tally. This was again a very spirited display from the Pies who can go into the Christmas break in good spirits and looking forward to the season beginning again in mid January, After the game , the squad enjoyed a Christmas meal
@ The King’s Head in Brockdish where they met up with old pals from Australia, namely Bruce, Shelia, Nigel and Alf.