Oxford Hawks faced top of the table Sutton Coldfield on Sunday, and were given a lesson in aggression in front of goal at both ends of the pitch, with their opposition being very sharp and first to the ball. The game didn’t start as the home side planned, with Sutton Coldfield opening the scoring with less than a minute on the clock. The away side quickly added two more leaving Hawks somewhat shell-shocked, but they were still able to play some good passing hockey and created chances of their own. The game was played at a very high pace overall, and there was plenty of space for both sides to exploit, but it was Sutton Coldfield who struck next through a clinical short corner finish. Moments before half time they added a fifth, leaving Hawks a big upward battle.
Firm words from coach Andy Clark at half time clearly had an impact, as Hawks came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, showing more aggression, determination, and confidence as they strung lovely passages of play together, dominating the opening period of the half. Hawks had a series of penalty corners but exceptional and brave defending from the away side prevented Hawks from getting on the score sheet. Player of the game Becky Hibbert came close with a quick strike from the top of the area, but the keeper pulled out a good save much to the home side’s frustration. Towards the end of the game, Sutton enjoyed more possession and added two more goals, but the second half left Andy Clark with plenty of positives to contemplate, despite the disappointing scoreline.