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Ladies 1s Vs. Portsmouth 1s - Saturday 4th December 2021

Great energy, great tempo, great game!

Banbury Ladies 1s - 1, Portsmouth Ladies 1s - 1

A strong team faced Portsmouth, looking for a win which would be a terrific boost moving towards the halfway point in the season.

Straight from the off Rosie made a great break and combined well with Jecca, who just ran out of room and couldn’t get a cross in, but this looked good. However, in this league, all the opposition are good, and Portsmouth soon attacked themselves, but our defence was well organised and were up to the task of negating the threat. It was end to end with both teams looking dangerous, and both teams playing at great pace. Kate won the ball in the middle and put Jecca through, who turned and got a shot off, which just went wide. Portsmouth broke upfield and suddenly it was a foot race with our defenders; Sammy raced off her goal line and made a lovely save. Back up the pitch it went with Kate, Zoe, Jecca, and Rosie all combining well. However, on 11 mins, due to a ball rising off a Banbury stick, Portsmouth received a short corner. This was well defended and cleared effectively. For the next 5 or 6 minutes, Banbury held the upper hand and were pushing for a goal. All our players were combining well and making Portsmouth work hard. Banbury pressed hard and high and something had to give, and fortunately, this week, all this pressure told and Kate blasted the ball into the net

from one of the many visits to the Portsmouth D. One Nil Banbury. This was really good stuff.

Straight after the goal, Banbury still pushed, and Zoe and Libby combined well, giving Charlotte a

lovely through ball, which was just a few inches too long, and ran away from her; good movement and vision! Banbury were playing the best hockey they have for a while and they looked really energised, but a bit of bad luck occurred on 20 mins when Portsmouth had one of their few forays into the Banbury D, and it was hit into one of our defenders legs, who could do nothing about it, and a short was awarded. This was well worked, one, two passes, opened up the goal, and blasted it into the corner. Sammy could do nothing. One each!

Banbury kept up the tempo and were looking for the next goal, but Portsmouth weren’t here to

make up the numbers and with 11 minutes left, they made a break which could have been very

dangerous had Evie not got in one of her trademark strong tackles and robbed the ball off the

opponent. End to end it went, with Jecca and Libby racing down one way, then Evie having to make another crunching tackle at the other. From one of those, Evie sent Jecca haring off down the wing, finding Libby, who pulled the ball to the right of goal and got off a lovely shot. To everyone, this looked all the way a goal, but it came off the inside of the post and back out!! Banbury got a short corner from this passage of play Kate hit a rocket just past the post. For the last few mins of the half, things became a bit scrappy, but Banbury did get another shot on goal, but their goalie saved. She had been much the busier goalie in the first 35 mins and we went in at halftime – all square.

Banbury started the 2nd half strong and within 1 minute Libby had earned us another short, however, nothing came of this one. For the next 5 minutes, it was all Banbury and they launched attack after attack, with Zoe, Maddie, and Charlotte all putting in a ton of work, but the Portsmouth defence and their goalie kept the ball out. Portsmouth were now being pushed back and restricted to only being able to worry Banbury via short, sharp break-aways. One of those saw Evie again stop it in its tracks and send Libby off on one of her trademark breaks down the wing, but the ball just got away from her. However, the opposition were good, and 9 mins into the half, they earned a short. Despite Banbury being in control, Portsmouth now had a chance to take the lead. Could they? Surely not? This was the first time they had got into the Banbury D in the 2nd half! They had one go – Banbury defended well. They had a 2nd awarded and had another go. Banbury kept it out, but they got yet a 3rd short, and this was also kept out and finally cleared. Phew!

A few minutes later, Banbury got back into their stride and were in the Portsmouth half. Rosie took the ball from one of their players and went for a run with it, and another short soon followed for Banbury. From this, Kate shot hard and fast, but this was saved by their goalie. A minute after, we got another short, but couldn’t find the net. For the next few minutes, Banbury had Portsmouth pinned back, but on 18 mins into the half, Portsmouth broke, and we needed Zoe to clear. Portsmouth kept the pressure up and got into the Banbury D, forcing a lovely save from Sammy. Despite everything, Portsmouth were not going away, and they got a short 12 mins from time; nothing came from that, fortunately, but they were looking for a winner, and no matter, how unlikely, or unfair, that would seem, Banbury had to step up the tempo and energy and make sure to give nothing away. A minute later Portsmouth won another short, then a 2nd as a result of Banbury defending the first one. Portsmouth were ramping up the pressure, and although we defended well, they broke back into

our D and got yet another short! Could Banbury survive? Yes, they could! Evie cleared the ball upfield and out of danger. To coin the phrase from last week, Banbury HAD weathered the storm and with only 7 minutes left, Rosie pushed up and linking well with Maddie, Zoe got a shot on goal which found the back of the net – two one Banbury! No, wait, it couldn’t be confirmed that Zoe was in the D, and the goal was unfortunately chalked off. This spurred Banbury on, and all our ladies pushed and pressed looking for that elusive goal. Maddie had a wonderful reverse stick shot on goal, which just went past the post; Maddie and Charlotte broke and attacked the goal; Libby joined in, but no matter what they tried, they simply couldn’t find the net.

The final whistle went and the game ended one – one.

MVP – just about every player got a nomination as it was that kind of game and everyone played

their part, but with 4 votes Zoe is the winner this week!

“I think this was a great game and just shows how Banbury are able to play, and can compete, with any team in the league. We need to show this same energy and application every week, and if we do, then the results will surely come. Banbury definitely deserve to be in this league”.

Bryce Wilkinson

Ladies 1s Manager 04/12/21

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