After losing 3-0 to Oxford Ladies 4s at the end of last session, the Ladies 5s knew this game was going to be a tough test. The 5s got off to a good warm-up, which could not be said for poor Oxford who found themselves stuck in the one-way Covid system and unable to make their way out across the pitch as there was a game in full play.
After the warm-up co-captain Polly pulled out her well prepared but time consuming colour coded large print team sheet, in the hopes this would make it easier to see the subbing. With not much pitch time the squad did a few swift stick and ball drills. 2 minutes until push back the team had a socially distanced team talk and shared some insider knowledge of the opposition.
From the get go, it was a strong battle between both teams with everyone really stepping up their game. Oxford defence were pushing high and in numbers, the halves had to work hard and the defenders having to attack as much as defending. The inners and midfielders were looking strong also. A few minutes into the game Hawks were looking like they were going to take the early lead when Jacs took Oxford by surprise throwing an aerial to Sherene at the top of the D. She did her signature roll out and was looking to strike. Unfortunately the shot was cut out by opposition.
Oxford looked equally as determined to break the deadlock, having taken a quick hit out they looked dangerous going forward and had the numbers on Hawks defence, however this attack was swiftly cut out by the POM, Jane who quickly tracked back from the opposite side of the pitch to put in a critical tackle. Unfortunately, just minutes before the goal the 5s had their first injury of the season, a head wound which would see Charlotte having to leave the pitch but bravely came back on in the second half all bandaged up by our first aider Polly.
Despite the high pressure being put on defence, Susan, Becky, Caroline and Bernie were able to find the space and transfer around the back. This was helped by the great communication from Evelyn in goal. 11 minutes into the game and their patience and composure was rewarded. Following a turn over in the defensive half and some lovely distribution from Jacs to Monica hawks found themselves aggressive attacking down the right wing. Monica beat her player to find Katie who also eliminates her player and spotted Sherene at the top of the D. 1 on 1 with the keeper she took a lifted strike to make it 1-0 Oxford Hawks.
Second half Oxford came out strong and were rewarded with a goal from a short corner. This didn’t deter Hawks with Polly leading by example and demonstrating that she hadn’t lost her 3D skills, linking up very nicely with Tara and Rebecca in the middle and Rosie out wide on the right.
Hawks were building possession well and looking positive going forward however the clock was against them. Despite this it did not stop Hawks from believing they had another goal in them, especially Bernie who repeatedly told Sophie “Don’t worry the goal will come”. With one minute to go Bernie would be proven right as Polly managed to create some space in a very crowded D and slot the ball in making it 2-1
With a lot of new players, we were pleased that the team worked well together - to finish off two superbly worked team goals.