In a crucial game in the race to avoid relegation play-offs, Oxford Hawks welcomed Cannock to Banbury Road North who were on level points but ahead on goal difference. The game started with a short corner being awarded to the visitors and their shot took an unfortunate deflection off the Hawks defence and lobbed goalkeeper Jess Hughes to give Cannock a 1-0 lead. Hawks reacted with determination and intensity, creating many good patterns of play getting the ball swiftly from defence to attack. Just before the break, Katie Lowe fed the ball into Lucy Stewart, who made the keeper work hard to save her fantastic lifted shot.
Hawks started the second half with a high work rate and enjoyed most of the possession. However goalkeeper Hughes and defender Caro Harris had to be on their toes allowing Hawks to stay in the game. As Hawks applied pressure gaps began to open up within the visitors' defence. There were shots early in the 2nd half from Sandra Roche and Lowe, both inches away from scoring. The equaliser started with Abi Flory driving forward with the ball, passing to Roche, who used her skill to attack the baseline in the D, crossing the ball to Catherine Reaney on the back post who confidently slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Hawks continued to apply pressure on Cannock and used good width to attack again. Roche recieved they ball high in the D and was award a penalty stroke as she was flattened by a Cannock defender. Captain Bex Oakes confidently stepped up and scored to give the home side the lead, much to the delight of the sizeable home crowd. There were further chances for Roche and Lowe again towards the end with the Cannock keeper making some excellent saves. The match finished with Hawks victorious and going three points above Cannock in the table with three matches to go.
Thanks to Vicki Hearn for the excellent photos.