Huddersfield Dragons I...4 Alnwick Ladies I...3
ALNWICK had another early start as they headed to Huddersfield for their midday game on Saturday. Despite the long journey, the ladies started brightly and had their hosts on the back foot for the opening spell of the game.
Despite the Alnwick pressure, Huddersfield looked dangerous on the break, though, and created a number of early overlaps to test the defensive team of Horn, Oates and Richardson.
A break up the middle of the pitch from Allen found Reed out on the right-wing and she drove confidently towards the goal area.
Her shot was mis-read by the Huddersfield keeper, who was then powerless to stop the ball as it crossed the line to open the scoring in Alnwick’s favour (0-1).
Huddersfield replied by stepping up the pace and demonstrated some quick-thinking to work the ball swiftly down the left side of the pitch to generate a strong strike at goal.
Excellent reflexes from Graham saved the shot which was then cleared away from danger by Oates.
The first half continued at a fast pace from then on, with both teams enjoying some good passages of play, including a series of neat passes from the midfield of Moralee, Allen and Cook, which found Pettifer and Britton in fantastic space a number of times and forcing some excellent tackles from the hosts to prevent any further score. Huddersfield continued to build a number of attacks themselves and eventually got their reward with a penalty-corner.
A well-rehearsed set-move was slickly executed and the ball found the back of the net before the Alnwick defence had a chance to stop it (1-1).
Alnwick were back in the attack from the restart with some fast running by Brown sending a ball through to Britton in front of the goal only for an outstretched toe from the Huddersfield keeper to deflect the ball past the post.
Huddersfield broke again just before the half-time whistle and, after some clever play saw their centre-forward turn past Oates, she clinically finished the move with a lifted ball into the goal (2-1).
The second half started much as the first had ended, fast paced and with an increasing amount of physical play, with both sets of players determined to win each free ball.
Alnwick took advantage of a penalty-corner awarded in their favour when the strike from Brown was saved only as far as Horn’s stick and it was duly sent back past the keeper to level the score (2-2).
This only served to spur the host team on, though, and two short-corners in quick succession were dispatched as impressively as their first, with both resulting in good goals to give them a convincing lead (4-2).
Alnwick were never out of the game though and continued to create chances of their own at the other end. Good saves from Graham prevented a further score from the Huddersfield forwards and from a cleared ball, Cook made a devastating run past a series of opponents before perfectly timing her strike of the ball to reduce the deficit to just one goal (4-3).
The final five minutes saw Alnwick camped in their opponents’ goal area but some solid and desperate defending prevented them gaining any reward for their effort.
Next weekend sees the first in a series of double-headers for the Alnwick girls as they catch up postponed fixtures after the frosty weather last month. They host Don Valley at Longhirst on Saturday and travel to Middlesbrough on Sunday to face Roseberry.
Alnwick: T Graham, S Horn, N Richardson (c), R Allen, A Cook, E Brown, C Britton, J Oates, G Pettifer, C Reed, K Moralee. Player-of-the-match: Ruth Allen.