Hawks Ladies 3s received Wallingford at BRN in the hope of playing a sharper game than we'd managed at the away fixture. Hawks had won the last five matches and were resolved to play our best hockey, making the ball do the work and staying out of contact.
Hawks were in control from the first whistle, with our first goal arriving in the first few minutes when Saskia intercepted a Wallingford free hit, popping a neat ball through to Emily who turned skilfully and put the ball in the back of the net before Wallingford could get near to her. The next goal followed more possession by Hawks, in which Katie M played a wide ball to Beth, who found Lizzie on the left. Lizzie showed her usual flair and dribbled past several Wallingford players (and a few more inside the D for good measure), before clinically finishing and taking Hawks to 2-0.
Hard work from mids Rosie, Becca, Mel, and Katie in transferring the ball found plenty of opportunities with smart leads from Saskia, Bonnie, and Laura. The third goal was also created from midfield, with another wide ball played out from Katie M, finding Becca on the right half. Becca used her pace to drive to goal and Wallingford gave her plenty of space to unleash her powerful strike, adding a third goal for Hawks within the first 15 minutes.
The final goal in the first half came from more creative work by Lizzie, whose reverse strike was saved by the keeper, but nimbly put away on the rebound by Phoebe, taking it to 4-0 at 17 minutes.
Wallingford made a few changes at the back and started to threaten a bit more, giving recently returned full back Katie C a bit more to do, and she denied Wallingford any opportunities in the D with her usual composure. Any other attacks from Wallingford were picked up by Kim’s block tackle, meaning Evelyn had little to do in the first half except jump out of the way of errant balls. Except when Kim made the cardinal error of clearing a ball in front of the keeper, connecting with the ball at the exact moment of hearing Evelyn shout “EVELYN’S!!”, at which point both GK and full back ended up on the floor. Thankfully the ball had been cleared out of the D at this point. (Sorry Evelyn!)
Hawks still had improvements to make in the second half; transferring the ball at pace, and playing short, sharp passes to limit our unforced errors. As usual, Hawks went out hard and were rewarded with yet another goal, this time created by Katie Merrick, who received the ball somewhere around Hawks’ 25, and ran the full length of the pitch, straight down the middle, casually dribbling around any challenges and finding Beth in the D, who spotted an unmarked Lizzie and crossed the ball. Lizzie finished with her usual style and took the score to 5-0 in the first minute of the second half.
Thereafter, Hawks played with discipline and style and were unlucky on several occasions, just missing out on the post, hearing the whistle go for a short just as the ball hit the back board, a high strike from Lizzie saved by the GK… A run of short corners didn’t yield a goal (despite an optimistic run up the pitch from FB Kim, who reaaaaally wanted a goal this week). Bonnie and Beth worked tirelessly in the D and were unlucky not to add to the scoreline, but Wallingford often had 11 players back and the D was congested.
Hawks concluded the scoring with a very slick straight strike from Katie Merrick, who rocketed the ball into the backboard, making the score 6-0. Hawks were pleased with another win in our promotion campaign and a much better performance against Wallingford.
MOM: Saskia for her great leads, tireless workrate and strong skills.