Hawks ladies 3s faced Wokingham at Fortress Banbury Road for the last match of the season. Both teams were safe in their final league positions so the match result couldn't affect the league outcome, but after Hawks's calamitous first match against Wokingham knocked Hawks off the league top spot, the result was a point of pride!
The 3s had a dream team line up, fielding a full 16 players to Wokingham's 11 with strength and talent in every sector. The sun was shining again at BRN and Hawks started the match with assertive distribution and clear aims in mind. Hawks had first push back but an early unforced error allowed Wokingham a run on goal, ably cleared by the superb defending partnership of Lottie and Katie.
Hawks rallied and had a sustained period of possession and solid distribution in the first quarter of the match but (as usual in the first half) failed to find the back of the net. Solid work from the midfield created lots of opportunities but the attacks were limited to the centre of the D and didn't threaten the visiting team too much. Jacqui's fine support on the sideline helped the 16-strong line up rotate smoothly and the umpires kept the game under control.
Hawks continued to stay calm in the face of Wokingham's increased agitation and built up the pressure in the attacking third. Hawks found themselves denied yet another goal after a foul on a Hawks player was pulled up just as the ball hit the back of the net, which reminded us how good it feels to score! Sadly the resulting short corner wasn't converted.
Unfortunately it was Wokingham who took the first goal, finding a break in midfield and running through unopposed and taking advantage of Hawks's marking confusion. Going 0-1 was a shock to the system after all of Hawks's possession and the team increased their efforts to score. A period of fine play was rewarded when a ball from midfield found Rebecca B alone in the D one-on-one with the keeper. She coolly slotted the ball away but was taken out by the GK and ended up in a bloody heap on the floor - but the cheers from Hawks made it clear that the goal had been scored! It was 1-1 at half time.
Hawks resolved to stay calm and work on building 5 passes, as well as using the width of the pitch and taking chances in the D. Rosie, Bonnie, and Laura were consistent in finding outlets from the inner line and the midfield of Katie, Mel, Rachel, Caroline and Kim (not all at once!) were solid. Hawks found yet another goal disallowed when the strike from a short corner, deflected off a defender's stick into the top of the net, was deemed to have curved too high.
Eventually the cool, calm play from Hawks was rewarded with a fab team build up expertly slotted away by Emily taking the game to 2-1. Wokingham tried to respond and Hawks were kept in the lead by some amazing close work by Evelyn and the defensive line up. Hawks maintained the pressure and enjoyed the support from the sidelines as the seating filled up.
Hard work from the forward line of Jess, Becca, Rebecca, Emily, Saskia was repaid with lots of time in the attacking third. Saskia was unlucky not to score after some great stick skills and a reverse shot was saved.Mel was unlucky to be hit on the ankle and hobbled off with 5 to go.
In the last minutes of the game Hawks were hoping to hold on to the 2-1 lead. After a Wokingham attack was broken down by Katie C, she found herself in space in midfield and decided to go on a little run. Soon enough she found herself outside the D and placed a superb cross on the far post at pace. Time stood still. Everyone watched. The ball hit two Wokingham sticks... and fired into the back of the net!! GOAL for our full back! Unsure whether the umpire had awarded the goal Hawks took up the case with the other umpire and before we knew it we were lining up having been awarded the goal! Within seconds the whistle blew and Hawks took the match 3-1. GREAT WIN TEAM!!!
Player of the match: Katie Merrick for her unstoppable work in centre mid.
Hawks finish the league in fifth place. Thanks to all of the 30+ players who have sported a 3rd XI shirt this season!
Well done ladies and thanks for all the cake!!