Hawks Ladies 3s went into the match determined to come away with 3 points to at least maintain their league position, which last week was second position on goal difference; only one goal behind league leaders Sonning. Wallingford are in the bottom league position and have conceded a fair number of goals. Hawks were hoping to go ahead in the table with a high scoreline, but it wasn't to be.
Hawks started steadily but made a few unforced errors in the early minutes of the game which meant having to defend a bit more than we would have liked. We made several runs on the Wallinford goal but failed to move the ball around and didn't capitalise on our possession.
Hawks were awarded a short corner in the 9th minute and Lizzie's superb strike was saved on the line, but the rebound was neatly slotted away by Beth on the right post. 1-0 up within the first ten minutes and Hawks hoped it might start to come together. However, Wallingford kept up their efforts and managed to find their way through the middle of the pitch to have several attacks which were well managed by Katie, Jacs, and GK Megan.
A good build up from the half backs and inners allowed Phoebe to take a run on goal in the second half, and she popped away a solid strike to gain Hawks a second goal inside the first 20 minutes. Hawks then crumbled a bit and started to make some unforced errors, gifting Wallingford the ball, being pulled up for infractions, missing the goal, and generally looking a bit less like the league leaders than we'd hoped.
Wallingford capitlized on a mistake made in the midfield and had an almost unopposed run on goal. They confidently put the ball in the back of the net from near the top of the D and brought the score line to 2-1 at 23 minutes, definitely upsetting the Hawks game plan!
Both Phoebe and Becca were the lucky recipients of green cards for not backing away 5 yards from a free hit and Hawks generally looked a bit shambolic as we struggled to find the back of the net. Work rate was high on the Hawks side but complementary leads and composure on the ball were in short supply as we struggled to work effectively in the bright sunshine.
We went into half time with our 2-1 lead, and in recent weeks we've had cracking second half performances, so the team talk centred around finding complementary leads and working effectively off the ball and generally making things a bit less easy on the opposition.
In the second half Hawks were determined to improve. Katie, Mel, Nicky, and Kim worked on transferring and moving the ball around quickly. Becca, Megan, and Emma continued their hard work on the inner line, and Hawks had many effective 1-2s in the centre third of the pitch. Beth, Phoebe, Bonnie and Lizzie found inventive ways to break into the D against Wallingford's effective defence. With excellent timing, Becca C put away a goal on her reverse stick from a short corner scramble and extended Hawks's lead to 3-1 within the first five minutes.
The opposition never gave up and made Hawks look lacklustre on several occasions. Hawks were continually frustrated by the flow of umpire decisions against them and disagreed unsuccessfully several times. We were determined not to concede short corners on the back of those decisions, and largely kept Wallingford away from the danger zone with some great tackles from Katie C.
In a period of sustained attack, Lizzie saw a line to goal and smashed away a cracking strike, finding the back of the net and giving Hawks a bit of breathing room at 4-1 with 15 minutes to go.
Hawks held on to the play and the 4-1 score line, but were unimpressed with our own performance and will be looking to preceding games for inspiration in our big match against Banbury next week.
Thanks to Katie for her stats keeping and help with subbing.
MOM Katie Merrick for her composure under pressure in centre mid - and we'll have to wait for other results to see if we go top of the league today!