Hawks were determined to put in a better performance on home turf, after going 2-0 ahead in Milton Keynes and eventually drawing 3-3. Skipper Catherine briefed a strong warm up and a solid start against the tough MK side.
It was a brisk start at 10am a chilly February morning but Hawks put in the work from the outset and had a couple of promising attacks early in the half. MK were goal hungry and MOM Becky and Phil were called upon to shut down some threatening attacks in the first few minutes. Evelyn was also kept busy, making some cracking saves.
Hawks found their feet much earlier than in recent weeks and played some lovely flowing hockey, connecting lots of passes and making the ball do the work. Consistent work from midfielders Vicky, Catherine, Megan, and Emily gave the inners and forwards plenty of opportunities and after about 20 minutes Hawks put away a goal in the aftermath of a penalty corner. Helen had a shot saved before Rebecca decided enough was enough and put the ball away clinically. 1-0 to the home side!
Hawks knew we'd need more of a cushion to ensure the victory and worked tirelessly to transfer the ball and connect the passes. Bypassing the inner line, Megan intercepted the ball in our 25 and ran through before playing a blinding pass to Rebecca. Rebecca popped the ball to Giorgia who slotted the ball away cleanly to take Hawks to 2-0 just as our tiniest mascot Henry Dawes put in an appearance.
Caz, Kim, and Helen linked well with the midfield and forwards to cut down MK's opportunities and provide Hawks with lots of time in the attacking third. We won yet another penalty corner and opted for Pip's 100% successful short corner routine... and sure enough, her record holds: 3-0 in time for halftime!
Catherine and Andy encouraged us to focus on getting the simple stuff right and keeping up the work rate in the second half. The next goal would be crucial as we fought to keep MK out of the game. Emma, Rebecca, and Pip worked well to put the pressure on the opposition and it wasn't long before Megan displayed some dizzying skill in the D, playing off the back
line to Kim on the left. The pass was perfect and Kim had plenty of time and space to flick it into the netting on the left, taking Hawks to 4-0 and minimising MK's chances of getting back in the game.
A final goal for Hawks was set up with Megan's third and final assist as she drove the ball into the D, finding Giorgia in space on the top left. Giorgia took a blinding strike and found Hawks's fifth goal at the back of the net.
Hawks finally felt they could relax a little and unfortunately allowed MK back into the game as they won a rare short corner. Fortunately, Phil was on hand to make an outstanding save on the left post, clearing the ball wide. It wasn't enough as a couple of mistakes allowed MK to have a second shot on goal and they scored a consolation goal. Final score 5-1!
Thanks to the umpires and to all of our spectators and tiny mascots!