Ladies 2nd Team v St Albans D 2-2
Back in October , we bagged a fine away win at St.Albans in a closely fought match. Having had some decent results in the last few weeks, we knew we would have to be at our best. The visitors had recently picked some excellent results away from home at Broxbourne and Canterbury so we knew this would be yet another close encounter.
The game started with a strong cross wind sweeping across the pitch ( I am told it was the backwash from Storm Erik ), with the Pies attacking the car park end. We had a dream start to the match on 3 minutes when Tor Findlay pressed a defender into making a mistake before slipping the ball to Laura Tibbenham just inside the D. Her first effort was kept out but she made no mistake second time around.
St.Albans pressed hard to get back into the game with their midfield dictating play although much of the possession was played in front of us as we kept our shape well without the ball. With both sides having plenty of options from the bench, each side made a number of changes to keep energy levels high as the wind was proving troublesome.
The visitors were starting to get sight of goal and keeper Jade Daly made 3 smart saves before the scores were levelled on 20 minutes. After defending a couple of previous penalty corners, St.Albans finally levelled when a shot from the top of the D found the home net. We responded to the setback getting a lot of joy down both wings with Lucy Field and Aoife Lowe Davies on the right whilst Cat Maciver and Georgie Gardens made some similar inroads down the left. With the forwards hitting the Hot Spots in the opposition D we looked dangerous with Sophia Bassett twice being denied with last ditch tackles.
With the game all square at the break, we discussed how we just had to keep battling against a very experienced side who had looked dangerous in our defensive D. Likewise we also felt that we could net a second as we had been encouraged by our attacking play in the first period.
With all to play for the second half began with the game being contested in the middle of the park as each team wanted to gain momentum. During this period, Olivia Locke and Jess Howland broke up play well in front of our defensive line before trying to release our forwards on the counter. The visitors still looked a threat in the D and from a PC that was only partly cleared, a close range effort was forced home to leave us behind for the first time in the match midway through the second half.
The Pies have shown during this season that they are full of dogged determination and yet again this spirit was going to be needed if we were to get back on terms. We started to push the visitors back as we played some decent triangle hockey and started to create opportunities resulting in some penalty corners that were well defended. Georgie Gardens was inches wide with a snap shot and some dangerous crosses just evaded our forwards.
At the back, Kristine Ayling, Kath Johnson and Amelia Herschel Shorland were having to work hard to keep the back door shut. Amelia made a brilliant covering challenge to stop an Albans forward getting a shot away from close range. With ten minutes to play, a devastating break saw us draw level. Good work breaking up an Albans attack allowed Lucy Field to pick a pass to Aoife Lowe Davies on the right. Aoife made an incisive break into the right of the D before squaring a perfect cross to Anouska who applied a well struck finish via the left hand upright..
Both sides had chances to pinch a very late winner especially when we were denied by a magnificent flying save by the keepers stick as a goal looked certain..
The game finished all square at 2 each with a share of the spoils being a fair reflection of the afternoons proceedings and another point gained from a difficult hard fought encounter. Next week, we are off to Lea Valley for a tough looking game with Wapping who had beat us convincingly earlier in the season.