The Ladies’ 4s headed off to Iffley Road on Saturday with a huge squad of 16 players. Fired up and ready to take on the students, the first ten minutes were extremely tight: Hawks’ attacking moves were blocked by the Uni defence who packed the D; the students were quick on the break, but contained by Phil, Becky, Emma and Nicky at the back. New player Charlotte Crampton-Smith made strong attacking runs down the right flank and we scored our first goal from one of her crosses, which was neatly put away by Sandra Satterly, who was perfectly positioned in front of the goal. Reassured by this first goal, Hawks started to pass the ball around a little more, particularly in the D, and were undeterred by the physical play by the Uni players at the other end. The pressure paid off when a shot on goal was blocked by a foot and Charlotte stepped forward to score an excellent penalty flick, bringing the half-time score to 2-0.
In the second half Hawks started to move the ball around the back a lot more (once gifting the ball to the Uni centre forward - a moment which had all our hearts in our mouths!) and we exploited the width of the pitch more effectively, letting the ball do the work. Well-placed long diagonal balls from the half-backs picked up Lizzie and Linda up front to attack the Uni goal once more and it wasn’t long before Bethany Nagle scored goal number three with a determined shot from the top left of the D. Hawks began to open up the Uni midfield with good 1-2 passing, especially between Charlotte, Bethany, Sophie Bennett and Sophie Temminghoff. More attacking runs from Charlotte brought the ball into the D and this time it was Lizzie Siese’s turn to score. The final goal was a true team goal, with Nicky stepping in to intercept a ball in defence, a great pass wide to Emma, good passing in the midfield before Charlotte once again ran around her defender to cross the ball for Linda to score.
Much credit must also be given to the defence who kept a clean sheet with no short corners given away, despite being stretched several times by quick forwards on the break. Coach Nathan will be pleased to know that Tuesday’s hard work on the press also resulted in many turnovers, especially in the second half. Finally, many thanks to Kim Williams for her support from the side-lines, excellent subs management and words of wisdom at half-time.