This week the ladies 3s found themselves at home against Oxford, and were hungry to beat them this time round. With a full squad of 15 determined players it was going to be an exciting match.
Hawks started quickly and within the first minute Beth Nagle had won a short corner, yet the Oxford keeper managed to prevent us from converting. Constant leading from birthday girl Kath Crook, and Lizzie Siese meant that the chances kept appearing. 10 minutes into the game saw Lizzie’s goal disallowed after a penalty flick was immediately awarded for a foot on the line. Caz Batten went up to take it, yet the Oxford keeper blocked the shot and paralleled to our previous game at Oxford. As our ongoing opportunities were continually being halted by Oxford defence we became more frustrated on the ball towards the end of the first half, and Beth became the first of the match to be carded. Oxford then began to renew pressure on our defence, however the joint MOMs Becca Canon and Katie Merrick were too strong for any Oxford advance, and Oxford’s short corner before the final whistle of half time was perfectly saved by keeper Olivia Clark, and solid fullbacks Lucy Birtles and Nicky Ekins.
The second half saw both teams increase their aggression on the ball, yet Gabs soon fell foul of another green card. However, strong leg work by inners Harriet Stovin and Gabs were able to put Oxford under pressure, and we were awarded another short. An awesome strike from Laura Marshall at the top of the D rocketed past all the Oxford defence straight into the backboard, hawks led 1-0. Oxford soon became tense, and a yellow card awarded against them would have given us the perfect opportunity to enhance our lead, however Mel Carrier minutes later received the second yellow of the game contributing to Hawks’ 9 minutes of cards. The balance shifted back towards Oxford’s favour, where they were able to convert form a short corner. 1-1. The game was now end-to end stuff with both teams breaking, and counter-breaking, however hawks went 2-1 down after an Oxford goal in the 26th minute. Nevertheless, hawks did not become disheartened but re-established the determination expressed at the beginning of the match. One on ones with the Oxford keeper unsettled Oxford, yet Lizzie and Harriet were unlucky not to convert. Strong work-rate from Lissy Momen created stacking chances for Hawks, and Gabs was unfortunate to have her ‘lacrosse-inspired’ goal disallowed after the whistle had already blown in our favour for another short. With 34 minutes gone it seemed as if everything was over, yet Katie provided one last chance for Hawks, firing the ball into the D for Beth to tussle with the keeper on the goal line, but Olivia Strickland was ready to tap the ball over the line. Final score, 2-2, an exciting end to a gripping game, and it was nice to finish the game with all 22 players on the pitch!