Magpies Mixed 5-1 Burton Mixed
Magpies had qualified for the national trophy quarter finals for the third successive year and were determined to avenge last years heart-breaking comeback defeat to Cannock. They would have to do so without Maria Andrews who was injured at May Day after an encounter with Toby Price. Luckily though Mens first team talisman Chris Barber was fit to be recalled in favour of Ben Wright. Martin Fields took a nasty looking fall in the warm up, but was deemed fit to play in the match.
The home team started strongly, with Richard Larkin and Andrew Bedwell controlling the centre of the pitch and helping to force early pressure. With Lizzie Clymer forcing a short corner, Bedwell stepped up to blast home, beating the keeper for pace down the centre of the goal. Magpies were relaxing well into the game, with Lauren Barber causing problems down the right hand side and more short corners were created. This time a slip move saw the initial shot saved, but Amy Campbell was on hand to smartly put home the rebound to give Magpies a 2-0 lead. Magpies were pressing well, with Burton limited to counter attacks and aerials out of defence. With this high position up the pitch, Magpies continued to look for a third goal before half time. The opportunity arose when Burton were apparently penalised for a deliberate foot in the circle, meaning a penalty stroke. With players backing away from the responsibility of taking it, only Larkin remained brave enough to take the big stage. Unfortunately with the pitch drying and the goalkeeper having done his research well- Larkin’s technique of how to take a stroke having been made famous on Mustard TV; Larkin had little chance once the keeper had gone the correct way, despite his stroke being destined for the corner.
The pitch watering at half time gave Magpies a long time to reflect on how to best seal the match. Burton continued to attack through their tricky right midfielder, but Simon Hipwell matched up well to him defensively, again limiting Burton’s attacks. Magpies were relieved to score their third goal. Another short corner was won, with Lucy Whiting and Chris Barber looking dangerous up front. The ball was fed out to Leigh Sitch, whose shot was scuffed wide, but was rescued by Bedwell who deflected in, much to Sitch’s relief. Magpies couldn’t quite find the fourth goal that would kill off the game. Chris Barber was looking sharp up front, but unfortunately was tightly marked and as a result wasn’t allowed his usual dominance and was not allowed to connect with his other forwards. Burton were not giving up offensively either, pushing players forward making them start to look dangerous. With their skillful forward breaking past Sitch, the experienced, but tiring, full back decided to unnecessarily and cynically hack him down, with Katrina Sitch and Frances Taylor maybe being in better positions to make the tackle. This gave the umpire no choice but to give a stroke and Sitch was very fortunate to not receive a yellow card. With the penalty spot wet again, the Burton top scorer emphatically flicked the ball high into the goal to begin the comeback. With last year in the home team’s mind, Magpies started to get deeper into their own half. Luckily Larkin charged down a short corner and Matt Collinge in goal saved a powerful flick well from another. This was as near as Burton would get. Clymer, Fields, the Barbers and Price moved the ball down the other end, using their speed to good effect to win another corner. This time a deliberate deflection move would see Amy Campbell score her second of the match for 4-1. Magpies polished off the performance with a deserved fifth, James Meek scoring Magpies’ only open play goal after he weaved through a couple of defenders before slotting past the oncoming keeper.
Magpies were relieved to win this quarter final, giving the squad a chance at claiming the national title at the finals weekend against Bedford, Horsham and Hampstead and Westminster on the Olympic pitch at Lee Valley in a few weeks time. The squad are all very excited about this prospect and if they continue to play as they have done so far this season, then their chance is as good as any.