After having lost against Oxford Ladies in our encounter last October, we definitely had a score to settle with them. ..and when we went onto the pitch after a strong warm up, it looked like we had them under control with our block standing solidly up front, our inners and centre-mid closing all the gaps and our defenders doing some tight marking. Hawks dominated play for the first 10-15 minutes but didn't threaten the goal as much as we'd like, and Oxford looked dangerous on the break. Some excellent work by full backs Katie and Lottie, and GK Evelyn, kept a clean sheet at first.
Despite our strong start, Oxford Ladies scored 15 minutes into the game against the run of play, which was extra unpleasant because some minutes before that Hawks had actually converted one of their many short corners, but it was not counted because the umpire hadn’t seen the ball cross the line. But we didn’t let this discourage us and responded with even more pressure, which led to a magnificent goal 5 minutes before half time: Katie played a fantastic ball wide to Sophie S., who came through from defence to back up an attack, picked up the ball at the top of the D and slipped it against running direction to the left where Elisha picked it up and didn’t hesitate to bang it into the goal with a magnificent reverse stick strike.We didn’t start the second half as awake as the first but we built up and saw some slick changeovers and great pre-scanning work by all players. As in the first half, we exceeded our targets for short corners, but failed to convert them into goals. After some hard work in the D which resulted in a great number of short corners, our forwards nailed the clearance: Becca dribbled the ball along the sideline and a beautiful cross-in allowed Ella to push it past the goalie in a great shot on the post. Hawks were deservedly 2-1 up.
Unfortunately, we conceded another goal from Oxford Ladies 10 minutes before the end, when the umpire mistakenly called a short corner for a foot, which had in fact been nimbly avoided by Caroline. Despite appeals from Hawks, the corner was awarded and neatly converted by Oxford, leaving us with an outcome that doesn’t account for the remarkable effort put into this game by everyone. A close vote for player of the match proved that everyone worked very hard but finally our defensive tower of strength, Katie, was elected. Well fought ladies, and unlucky not to come away with the win.