South Central League Premier 2 Division 06/11/21
Banbury HC Ladies 1s - 1, Southampton 1s - 4
With 50% more players this week due to better availability, hopes were high, but it was going to be a bit of an unknown playing Southampton, about which, we knew nothing - they can’t be near the top of the league for nothing surely?
Within a minute of the start, it was clear to see, they broke fast, and fired a shot across the goal, which narrowly missed. Was this the shape of things to come? Southampton passed beautifully, with barely any ball not finding another Southampton stick and they moved at pace. Banbury found it difficult to move the ball up the pitch and was pinned back for the first part of the game. After 7 ½ minutes, Southampton crossed the ball from the wing into the middle of the D and a great shot found the back of the net. Muqaddas had no chance – One Nil Southampton
This saw a raft of Banbury rotations, the thinking being that with a team of 15, it would be good to use the extra legs and keep all the players on the pitch as fresh as possible. Perhaps this was a good move, for, within a few minutes, a great passing move incorporating Charlotte and Nat saw Flora pass the ball beautifully into an empty net – One All !
The bad news was that it seemed Tash had picked up an injury that she was struggling to run off, and after giving it her best, she had to sit out the most part of the game due to her injury.
For a time it was good end-to-end stuff and either team could have increased their tally; a Southampton player got a card for persistent stick tackles on 15 mins and shortly after Jecca and Libby combined beautifully to force a save by their goalie. Despite being a player short, Southampton looked dangerous and still managed to attack the Banbury goal, and forced a Short with 12 mins to go of the first half. This was well defended and came to nothing. Banbury then also lost a player to a card, and Southampton was having the best of the play during this time, where they won another Short; but again, it was well defended and came to nothing. 2 minutes before half time saw another Southampton attack which brought about a good stop by Muqaddas, but in so doing gave away a Short. Southampton had another go…. Zoe blocked the first attack and Becca turned away the second. From this, Banbury broke fast upfield and Flora and Nat bore down on their goal, but their goalie stood firm and kept the ball out. One All at half time.
Southampton started the second half quickly and within a minute, they had raced down the pitch
and fired a shot just wide of the Banbury goal; clearly a warning…! However, Banbury was not lying down and Libby broke fast (on her own, unfortunately) and raced down the pitch, but without support, the attack fizzled out. Back came Southampton and it was a frenetic period of play. After 8 mins, Libby broke upfield again and with better support, Banbury won a Short. This was well worked but went just wide of the Southampton goal.
Unfortunately, 5 minutes later, during a Southampton foray into the Banbury D, and a bit of a mix-up and some indecisive defending, we saw the ball trickle over the line off a Banbury player. Two One Southampton.
More Southampton pressure followed and 17 minutes into the half saw Banbury give away a Short, which was defended well, but they immediately earned another, from which a well-hit shot found the back of the net making it Three One Southampton. Was there a way back from this for Banbury? Banbury certainly wasn’t lying down and Evie battled hard taking control of the ball in midfield and combined well with Libby who made the Southampton goalie pull off another save. Four minutes later Evie passed to Libby on to Jecca then on to Flora, who just missed the goal. Banbury earned a Short from this play, but nothing came of it. This period of Banbury pressure just spurred more effort from Southampton though, and within a few minutes of this, they broke up the right, passing an inviting ball into the middle, and once again, fired an unstoppable shot into the Banbury net – Four One Southampton. Clinical.
Five minutes afterward, and only four minutes from the end Evie, Libby, and Jecca combined well and saw the resultant shot saved, and Southampton, as you would expect, broke back again, looking very dangerous and looking for more gaols; their shot just missing the Banbury goal. Despite this end period clearly seeing Southampton being the stronger team, Banbury did not give up, and after a great interception by Nat, Charlotte took the pass and bore down on goal looking to beat the goalie, but the ball was kept out – illegally, it seemed, and Banbury won a Short, from which nothing came unfortunately.
Final whistle – Four one Southampton.
Banbury played well in patches during this game, but met a team who were well drilled, passed, and moved very quickly and effectively, and made very few mistakes. Banbury could have scored more than their one, but Southampton also could also have added to their tally, and the result and score was probably about right. Whilst this was disappointing, I think this was against one of the league’s top teams, who came to Banbury with a very strong squad, so heart should be taken that during the game, there were times where Banbury gave as good as they got. We just need to do this for the full 70 minutes.
MVP – Muqaddas was voted overwhelmingly as the MVP this week.
Ladies 1s Manager 06/11/21
Photo: Zoe running it up the pitch
Photo: Libby getting out in front ready for the quick pass