Hawks Ladies 3s travelled to Sonning on Saturday to try to improve on our frustrating 0-0 draw in the first half of the season. The 3s have had a run of bad luck with the weather and had only played one league match since November, while Sonning have managed to play their full schedule. But the 3s played well against Oxford two weeks ago and were hoping to grab points from this week's fixture.
Hawks had a strong squad of 15 but were missing a few key players. We were briefed on Sonning's half court press and started the match with plenty of energy. Hawks dominated possession for the first ten minutes, but failed to make progress into the D and were struggling to find our rhythm. The lack of recent match play showed with basic errors - both teams kicking the ball a lot - and Hawks failing to connect passes to players.
Hawks worked hard but were off-balance to be unchallenged in our own half when in possession of the ball, and not managing to build play around leads from our inners as we would normally do. Bonnie and Bethany had a quick 1-2 challenge on goal but were unlucky to miss out on a conversion. Sonning started to make stronger challenges in our own D and full backs Katie, Jacqui, and April were called on to make a lot of strong tackles. Olivia was on fine form in goal and looked strong, until Sonning put together a neat attack and tapped the ball in on the left post to make it 1-0 to the home team.
Hawks went into half time frustrated with our own clumsiness, but convinced that we could do better. We needed to distribute the ball better and create more space for our inners to work. The hard work paid off with a few chances and a short corner, which was, unfortunately for Hawks, charged down by Sonning's number 1 runner before we got the shot away.
Sonning played strongly and eventually one of their attacks paid off again, with a clumsy foul from a Hawks player just inside the D giving the Sonning player just enough time to make a powerful strike, which got past all of the defence and the GK while we were half expecting a penalty corner. 2-0 to Sonning - Hawks hadn't given up but did little to challenge Sonning's goal keeper at the other end. Hawks were under pressure once more when Sonning's centre forward danced around Olivia's ground clearance and had an open shot at goal - but April stepped up with a storming clearance right on the goal line.
The match finished at 2-0 to Sonning, which means that both sides have now lost one game, and Hawks need to win our remaining matches, and our games in hand, to stay in contention for the top of the league.