|Date||24 November 2018|
|Venue||UWE Centre for Sport|
|Result||W 2 - 0|
|Time played||Normal time|
Today our second team heroines got to play on their home pitch and set out to defend that fortress against North Wilts with the help of an unknown concept known as 'subs'. Furthermore, we saw some previously injured players back on the team sheet, welcome home, ladies!
After a team talk that reminded us to do anything but play it straight to the opposition, we decided to overrule captain Woody and collectively give North Wilts some early christmas presents in the form of some passes played - you guessed it - straight to the opposition. However, after a shaky start, we gained some composure and played together much nicer with some good passes and pressure building up in the opposition's half of the pitch.
Short corners kept coming for dangerous play (amongst other offences), however we were less effective than we were against Lydney - the logical explanation being that our forwards are solar powered and could not function in this wetness, a hypothesis which shall be thoroughly researched in due time.
At this phase of the game, centre back Emily was certainly spending more time in the opposition D than our own. With pressure building more and more, extensive short corner practice and no goals coming our way, it was a matter of time until a counter attack would surprise our, at this stage, extremely high defence, however Rosie and Claire P reliably stopped those in their tracks and gave us time to reset. With a crowded centre of the pitch and generally a fairly scrappy game, our midfield worked hard to get the ball back to the other end, where we continued to put pressure on and receive numerous free hits and corners of various lengths, until one of the short variety actually saw the ball flying into the net. Unfortunately, it was just ever-so-much too high and could not be counted towards KP's already impressive goalscoring tally.
With a little shock in form of a short corner the other way - for KP walloping the ball at Abi's legs in our own D (that is not what people mean when they say to aim for the feet, KP!) - we then went into half-time with an unflattering 0-0 draw.
We decided that we needed to change something and use the secret weapon named Ella that had so far rested on the bench and still had the legs to up the tempo in the second half.
The second half again saw Redland have the majority of the play.
The general intensity of the match seemed to be even higher and our level of hockey seemed to improve slightly, with especially our midfield displaying an impressive work rate. Our strong and relentlessly running returnee Jules, captain Woody running loops against the opposition, KP always being within 5 feet of the ball, Abi consistently interfering and hassling, experienced dynamo Elaine and Laura who brought her A-game today with strong tackles and good passes down the line to well-positioned and fast forward Ella really made it tough for North Wilts. While the occasional counter attack still got through, generally the majority of play was in the opposition D, where our hard working forwards Hannah, Mitch and Ella tried their best to put pressure on their goal which was well defended by a tall goalkeeper putting her reach to good use. However, even a good goalkeeper with great reach can be beaten with a perfectly placed lifted ball, as Hannah impressively demonstrated. They say to save the best for last, but in the interest of my heart rate, maybe start with those in the first half next time, Hannah!
With a collective sigh of relief and the resulting extra power, it wasn't long until another successful attack: a ball that the defence wrongly assumed to go wide bounced off the post straight to Hannah who did not miss the empty goal in front of her.
In a last attempt to get something back from this game, North Wilts received a final corner of the game after an impressive 3D save on the line by Emily. This corner, however, was stopped by post player Bettie whose home football team drew Bayern Munich today. While the relevance of this may not be immediately obvious, this team should take pride in meaning enough to me that I am currently summarising a hockey match rather than spending time in one of Bristol's fine establishments selling cold brewed beverages.
MOM votes for plenty of players, with Laura, Emily and KP sharing the crown (unfortunately a tie breaking jousting match was not possible due to two of these players missing teas).
DOD votes were received by KP who hit Abi in our own defensive D, Abi who got in the way of KP's ball, Bettie for her struggles with a card machine (1 each) and Jules who attempted to take a long corner in the actual corner of the pitch, where long corners used to be taken - until 2014 (no jokes, I actually looked this up!).
See you next week, when we shall take on Westberries in the final league match of 2018 - until then, I will remain with best wishes for a recovery as speedy as your legs, Elaine!