Banbury Ladies 1st 3, Oxford Ladies 1st 3

13th February, 2016
Banbury faced Oxford in the league this Saturday, having previously drawn with Oxford when they played away from home, Banbury were keen to prove they were the stronger outfit.
Oxford started the game very strong and Banbury struggled to get a grip on the game, with Becca Edwards missing in defence, Becca Atkins stepped into the breech but Oxford were quick to break through the slightly unsettled defence and scored their first goal after 5 minutes. Banbury kept their heads up but due to very close marking and defending by Oxford defence Banbury couldn’t find their forward line which made it difficult to create chances. Oxford broke through for a second time and Banbury were looking a little deflated.
Samantha Humphreys stepped up the intensity after 15 minutes and seemed to give Banbury the composure they desperately needed and the girls managed to regain their shape and started to play some good hockey. With the forwards totally marked out of game, it was up to the midfield line to exploit the space Aveline Cruickshank and Sadie Lapper were making. Vic Coombs linked well with Sam Humphreys and Charlie Matthews and drove through the centre to hammer the ball into the top right corner, leaving the Oxford keeper a little shell shocked.
Banbury continued to work at this intensity and had a firm grip on the game at half time even though they were trailing by a goal.
Oxford came back hard but with experienced midfielder Pip Jones and defence stalwart Juliet Gardner the girls made life more difficult for Oxford, Banbury pressed the ball well, and Oxford were forced into making mistakes, Banbury eventually broke through when a short corner was awarded after some neat play by Lapper. Vic Coombes stepped up to flick the ball hard and low which was deflected in by Lapper on the left post to make the score two a piece. Banbury had all the pressure now and Oxford tired upfront and lacked options, Charlie Price having another fine game at right back managed to feed the ball up to midfield for Banbury to surge forward again into the D and were awarded another penalty corner. Vic Coombs stepped up again with a fabulous flick which put the girls in the lead with 15 minutes to go. Banbury held on well and played some great defensive hockey, but right before the end, Oxford broke through with a long ball into the D which shot past Lotty Andrews in goal, making the final score 3-3.
Although the girls did not get the score that they wanted it was a solid game with excellent performances from youngsters Charlie Price and Jenny Marsh the future is looking good. Juliet Gardner was awarded man of the match for her solid defensive play and Lotty Andrews had a fantastic game in goal, so although there is room for improvement, Banbury’s resilience, discipline and determination were a credit to the club.