The ladies 2s made the very short journey to Headington School to face local rivals Oxford 1's for their first friendly since the Christmas break. Oxford have enjoyed the break sitting pretty at the top of South Div 2, so this was a good test for the ladies 2s who put in a strong performance in the league against their neighbours earlier in the season.
The game started fairly even, with neither side able to dominate possession, perhaps to be expected at this stage of the season. It was Hawks who took the early advantage with Harriet Stovin finding herself on the ball at the top of the Oxford D. She made it look easy as she created some space away from the Oxford defence to get the shot away, beating the keeper at her near post. 1-0 Hawks.
The game continued to be competitive with a lot of the play between the two 25 meter lines and both teams striving to build play by moving the ball around, leading to plenty of turnover of possession. It was Oxford who broke through as they lifted their intensity, putting more and more pressure on the 2s until deservedly bringing the game back level, as it stayed until half time. 1-1.
Oxford kept up that intensity early in the second half and despite some strong defending by the Hawks back line and keeper, they took the lead for the first time. 2-1 Oxford. The match was locked here for a while until a goal out of nothing from Hawks 2s. Laura Scragg found herself marauding toward the half way line, not panicking too much as she crossed it; she offloaded the ball with the perfect pass, allowing Helen Nicholson to drop the shoulder and take the ball into the D, leaving the defender scrambling to get back. The defender was sucked in to overcommit and Nicholson was able to square the ball to Siena Robbins arriving at the top of D to dispatch the ball into the bottom corner. All square again - the game was poised for an exciting final 10 minutes.
Hawks were buoyed by their equaliser and continued to press, winning a couple of short corners, the last of these leading to a penalty flick being awarded. Helen Nicholson was closest to the ball and fancied a go, sent the keeper the wrong way, and gave Hawks a 3-2 lead which they held on to until the bitter end.
The ladies were pleased with their second half performance as a good starting point to build from before facing Oxford Brookes 1s on Tuesday evening and then restarting their league matches on Saturday.
Thanks to Jacqui Barlow for umpiring.
MoM: Harriet Stovin & Harriet Hargreaves