Oxford Hawks knew they had to bring their best game to beat Surbiton Ladies 2s, top of the National League Conference West by six clear points at the start of the day. The game started with Surbiton confusing Hawks by holding a half court press but Hawks managed to force an error in the defensive line to to leave the ball open just in front of the 25. Emily Smith picked up the ball, ran past a defender and drove into the D, scoring on the reverse at the far post in the third minute. Surbiton were caught by surprise. 1-0 down, the visitors had some good attacking moves in response and a good strike against GK Millie Lane produced an equaliser.
The score stayed at 1-1 over half time and into the third quarter. A quick break by Surbiton resulted in a deflection and an impressive goal. Hawks were now 2-1 down but they did not stop. A motivational chat with Andy Clark after the third quarter brought Hawks back to their finest. Some links from the half-backs to the forward line from the home team were making it look easy. Surbiton found themselves pulled up by the umpires on numerous occasions and carded for swinging tackles over the course of the match. One instance, where Smith was tackled just outside the D, was upgraded to a short corner. Caro Harris confidently slotted in a equaliser and Hawks were back in the game and looking for the winner. Lexi Newall showed some amazing resilience and jumped back to win the ball again and again, which resulted in more attacking opportunities, and a deserved Player of the Match award. Another ball became loose in the Surbiton half and Smith, once again, drove around a player into the D and had many options but Sam Jacobs was able to strike the ball towards the crowded goal and scored to make it 3-2. Hawks kept their head and held on comfortably to win. It was an outstanding team performance and they look forward to repeating it next week at the University of Bristol.
Thanks to Evelyn Hargreaves for the excellent photos.