A tale of two halves

Match report West Herts v W5s 14.10.23

Result – lost 5-2

The fourth fixture of the season provided some availability problems stemming from the top of the club downwards with Kim working overtime to ensure that both 5s and 6s could field a full side.

A big shout out to Jos, Claire and Kathy (playing her first games after a return from injury) for stepping up to play in both fixtures.

Mairead for stepping in at the last minute as goalkeeper – having never played in that position before – and Ava for literally coming in at the eleventh hour to play her first game of adult hockey and score two goals. Also, a big thank you to Gill Perry at West Herts who lent us a GK helmet when we discovered that we did not have one.

We started brightly with our junior players moving well in our attacking half and we definitely had the upper hand during the first ten minutes of the game.  Then  the opposition seemed to click  into gear wresting control of the midfield which  led to a torrid twenty minutes and ultimately was where the game was won and lost.

At this point we were unable to break down their attack in the midfield and despite an experienced backline we struggled to contain their youthful forwards and get the ball out of defence. The pressure was telling and when a ball on an opponent’s foot was adjudged to have hit Francine’s  we faced our first PC ,which we managed to scramble  away only to concede a second.  A well struck ball from the top of the D to the injector was met with a well-timed volley into the back of the net.  A third PC followed fairly swiftly and the ball, though undercut from the strike, hit the backboard and we were 2-0 down.

Everyone was working hard to counteract the onslaught – oh what we would have given for a timeout at this point – but despite our concerted efforts WH scored 2 more goals before the break   0-4  and leaving us with an uphill task.

A  shout out to Sarah whose half time team talk and position move brought about a much needed change of fortune. Her move to left mid enabled us to stem their conduit down the right-hand side and take control in the midfield, allowing the backs to contain their forward attack.  One breakthrough early in the second half and their CF  snagged a goal from open play but we were now playing with much greater fluency and composure. Sustained pressure in their D was rewarded by a goal from our newest player Ava in the right place to push home from close range.. Within minutes she was on hand again to push the ball across the goal and their keeper ,suddenly called into action after a quiet first half , mistimed her kick allowing the ball to roll under her foot and over the goal line. A great debut for her and some reward in what had initially  proved to be a very attritional battle  but ended in an equal contest.

Strong second half from the whole team provided several contenders for MVP which was jointly shared between Ava and Nandini.

We learn from every game- next stop a home fixture v local rivals H and W which always provides a close encounter.

A strong second half from the whole team provided several contenders for MVP which was jointly shared between Ava and Nandini.