Selection this week felt like a pack of cards being shuffled – daily changes, who was in who was out – and a few that fell by the wayside late in the week for various reasons. We welcomed with open arms some new and old faces to the team. A bit of a panic as the captain had forgotten that one of the team was umpiring on the pitch ahead of the match, but when the whistle went everybody was accounted for.
Hawks started the game in a positive manner, moving the ball nicely and creating space for Jane to exploit down the right. The bounciness of a new pitch was testing – luckily we had enough wise heads in the team to remember the upright grass skills required to stop a ball. Definitely a day for patience as it wasn’t happening (quite) in front of goal both from open play and penalty corners. Jacs strike from a penalty corner was stopped on the line with a foot which resulted in another penalty corner! It was going to be one of those days. Hawks battled hard, seeing off the threat from Wycombe with their long ball tactics, anything that did get through Purdy (MOM) was in complete control of in front of her goal. Hawks did break the deadlock towards the end of the first-half; movement down the right with neat play between Jane and Jade with the initial shot saved but Sophie picked the ball up off the keepers pads and slotted the ball home.
The team talk at the half-time was all about patience, focus on the ball control, move the ball into space. We moved into second then third gear in the second half and Hawks took grip of the game. With so much confidence within the team, Hawks capitalised with their possession with Pip poking the ball home from on the goal line following Sherene’s initial shot – VAR was used to determine the goal-scorer, the adjudicator (Jade’s Mum) awarded it to Pip. Wycombe never gave up and their position in the table does not reflect their play, but Susan and Becky were stubborn with their tackling and Jane, Caroline and Alice tracked back to support. Goal three can from a penalty corner – a bit of deja vue. Another strike, another foot on the line ……….. you guessed it, we were awarded another penalty corner. We have to assume the umpire didn’t see it! This time the ball was passed right to Sherene whose initial shot was saved but the loose ball was picked up by Jacs who slipped it back to Sherene who made sure on her second attempt of the goal. Hawks were moving the ball around well, Kim and Polly made some great connections which resulted in Hawks’ final goal on the stroke of full-time. Polly delivered the ball to Sherene whose shot was saved and Pip followed up putting ball, defender and goalkeeper in the back of the net – not one to get in the way off!
A satisfactory 4-0 win, another 3 points and 13 wins out of 13 games. We have a break in the league next week but we resume at Reading the following week.