Hawks (with a few friends from Witney) travelled to Sonning to play in the O45s cup. The squad was reduced to 11 but last minute recruits brought the numbers back up to a respectable 14. Vicky was in charge, some wise words in the changing rooms and the scene was set.
Sonning were quick off the blocks. A high forward line pushed Hawks backwards and we spent much of the first 10 minutes defending hard. Sonning switched the ball quickly and always seemed to have an extra forward to our defenders. The pressure told and Sonning opened the scoring with some quick passes and a neat finish. Hawks started to get into the game with some good attacking plays of their own but were not rewarded with any outcomes in the circle. An end-to-end game played a blistering pace (especially for an O45s game) and it was Sonning who got the rewards with another goal from open play. Hawks fought hard and started to turn the tide. Jane and Karen found space down the right and in the last few minutes of the first half the ball found its way to the unmarked Susan (yes, she usually plays in defence) who found the back of the net. 2-1 at half-time and all to play for.
A few positional changes for the second half and both sides found space in attack. Defenders battled hard and were quite often over-loaded but it was Sonning who scored the next goal from a penalty corner. The initial shot was blocked, there was a foot by a defender but the forward continued with her shot. The ball crossed the line but was the whistle blown for the short corner before the ball crossed the line – a debate for another day. The goal was awarded; 3-1 to Sonning. But Hawks refused to give up. Nothing to lose at 3-1 down so Hawks pushed up the pitch, sometimes leaving the defence exposed, but this allowed more people in attack. More chances were being created and a string of short corners gave Hawks the goal they deserved. With a Sonning defender breaking early, and taking a walk of shame to the halfway line, a double ping-pong move between Jacs and Bernie left Jacs with the chance to slot the ball home; 3-2. Hawks continued to press and were rewarded with a third goal. I can’t honestly remember the build-up but it was Susan goal-hanging again who scored her second of the game. A final flurry from Sonning who came close to a winning goal, only for the lifted ball to hit a Sonning attacker on the head (a bit of blood but she was ok). A final score of 3-3 and down to penalty flicks.
After five penalty flicks from each team, the score was 4-4, now into sudden death. Sonning scored but Jacs’s flick was saved …….. it wasn’t to be. Hawks now wait for the draw for the “losers” cup to see who they play next.