Hawks made the journey to local rivals Oxford University on Saturday keen to put the previous week’s loss behind them. The local Oxford derby is always a fiercely fought game and Hawks were confident that their age and experience would stand them in good stead against the young legs of the students.
From the first whistle Hawks were chasing the game; the university side were overloading the midfield and Hawks were struggling to find an answer. Goalkeeper Phil Hargraves found himself called upon several times in the first 20 minutes and made a series of saves keeping Hawks in the game. After some tactical changes the away side begun to get into the game and move the run of play out of their own half and into that of the students. One of their attacks found an aggressive ball into the University D heading straight for the goal, the pass missed all of the Hawk’s attackers sticks, but rather unfortunately found the pads of the Oxford University goalkeeper who put it into the back of his own goal.
Hawks now found themselves to be the more attacking side, and kept the ball out of their own half for long periods of time. Shortly before the half time whistle and following a series of carefully put together passes Hawks fed the ball to Rich Barlow just outside the opposition’s D. Having beaten his man he ran towards the goal from the right, as the keeper came out to meet him Barlow slipped the ball past the pads and into the bottom of the goal. The score remained 2-0 at the half time whistle.
The second half was a similar affair to the first, the ball moving from end to end quickly, but the University side seemed to have the upper hand; levelling the score within 15 minutes from two short corners the game was anyone’s. Going down to 9 men the away team were on the back foot. The students put on the pressure and fed a ball into their oppositions D which found a man on the back post for a simple tap in. Hawks retaliated with a fast attack and found Matt Wood on the penalty spot who drove the ball into the goal. The final whistle came as the students won a short corner; the ball came off the Hawks keeper’s pads and fell in the middle of the D, in a frantic scramble a University striker claimed the ball and flicked it off the inside of the post to put the home side at 4-3 at the end of the game.Thanks to Clive Jones for the photos.