Ladies 2nd Team v Cambridge City 2 L 0-1

The outdoor season resumed with a trip to Wilberforce Road for a fixture against Cambridge. The fixture earlier in the season was a scoreless draw and as that score suggested it was a game between two evenly matched sides.With conditions ideal for hockey, another close battle was expected in front of a sizeable crowd that included plenty of encouragement from the Magpies supporters.

The first 15 minutes of the half was fairly scrappy in fairness as both sides were showing plenty of honest endeavour but neither were getting their passing games going. However the high press from the hard working Magpies was causing Cambridge plenty of issues as they struggled to transfer the ball out from the back into midfield. With this being the case we were picking the ball up in good attacking areas and started put some decent passes together and getting some joy down both flanks. Cambridge were also struggling to deal with aerial balls that were being launched into the D and from one of these Tibbs did force the ball home but it was correctly ruled out.
With Cambridge only offering a threat on the break, we were still the dominant force in the match as our attacks were now being rewarded with crosses flashing across goal as well as a number of penalty corners in quick succession. From one of these, the Cambridge keeper made a good double save and Ridders also found the net but again it was correctly chalked off. Cambridge did come back into the game towards the end of the half and forced a couple of penalty corners that were well dealt with by the defence and Alice Wells in goal.
Having got to half-time all square was the least we deserved to be fair as we had dominated for large periods of the first half but could not find that elusive opening goal in what was always going to be a tight game.
Cambridge began the start of the second half in a very business like manner as they squeezed us back into our own half as they were now winning the 50/50 balls and started to get some slick passing moves going. When we did manage to get the ball, their intensity was causing us to rush our work and we were struggling to get any passing going and any dribbles were coming up against a wall of red. Cambridge were then creating some opportunities in our D and we had a let off when a fierce shot hit both posts before going to safety. Midway through the half, the home side went ahead after some ping pong in our D, before a home forward got enough on the ball to send it over the line.
This setback jolted us and for a few minutes we looked as if we may concede again as the home side looked for a second. To the teams credit we came battling back into the game as Cambridge looked to hang on to what they had got. We got back to moving the ball in and around their area and were only thwarted by some last ditch defending and a couple of shots flew narrowly wide. However we were unable to pick the lock to create a clear opening in the last few minutes as Cambridge were hung on to their advantage to bag a hard fought narrow victory.
As mentioned in previous reports, this is a very even league but the trend seems to be that you need to get ahead in the tight games when you are on top. Credit to the home side who upped the ante at the start of second half and netted a scruffy goal when on top. Once again there were lots of good things to be seen in our performance and also some that we need to work on. We were certainly worth a point on the day against good opposition but you don’t always get what you deserve. 
Next week, we are back to the Nest where we are looking forward to pitting our wits against the joint league leaders Broxbourne at 1.30pm. The team would appreciate a good crowd to back the Ladies in what will be yet another hard encounter.