This was another cracker of a game from start to finish. Crashers, fielding a team full of experience, were on top immediately for the initial part of the first quarter with Hotshots having to work hard to maintain control of their defensive half. Just before the end of that period a misunderstanding on a defensive substitution allowed Crashers to take their chance from the left of the D with centre forward Vicky Greensmith quick to pounce and smashing the ball into the back of the net. However, HS were growing in confidence and began transferring well around the back and making inroads into their attacking half.
The Crashers defence proved resolute and did an excellent job of breaking down the attacks with Lily Freeman effectively marking key striker Caitlin HC out of the game and making Charlotte Marshall in goal virtually redundant at this point. Vicky G proved very effective creating a constant running target across Hotshots’ goalmouth, taking a defender with her and allowing good channels of attack for her supporting forwards. Still at half time the score remained 1-0.
It is fair to say that there was a cup final atmosphere with both teams riding high and wanting the win. There were some lovely moves from both teams with momentum regularly shifting from one side to the other. Hotshots had now found their rhythm and were playing with greater impetus and fluency creating a few scoring opportunities which they were unable to complete and a few minutes before three-quarter time through another hard strike from Vicky G glancing off a defensive stick Crashers went 2-0 ahead.
It would have been easy for Hotshots to become despondent at this point especially with VC Zoe Griffiths forced to limp off the pitch injured. However, the uphill task seemed to galvanise the Hotshots in the final quarter with all team members playing at full throttle to enable a necessary momentum shift. With youth on their side the HS juniors utilised their stamina and grew in confidence and a total team effort enabled Caitlin HC to make a dazzling move through the middle and score. Squad member Lottie Rachel, arriving for pre-season training, found herself joining the team in place of Zoe which further strengthened the HS attack and, with minutes to go, Caitlin HC scored her second goal of the night with barely a chance for the restart.
A game of high quality, hard fought by both teams, finished in a draw – probably the fairest outcome.