Slazengers Ladies I...3 Alnwick Ladies I...0
ALNWICK set off at the crack of dawn to make the long journey down to Wakefield for their game at the weekend.
Following their impressive performance the previous weekend, the ladies were confident and hoping to continue their winning form.
Slazengers clearly had a point to prove from the start, though, and immediately had their visitors on the back foot. The Alnwick defence were soaking up a huge amount of pressure with their opposition almost permanently camped in their goal area for the first 10 minutes of the game.
Strong saves from Graham, excellent tackling from Horn and a charge down or two by Richardson kept the hosts at bay until eventually their pressure told and a shot finally found the backboard to give Slazengers a 1-0 lead.
Alnwick gradually found their feet, though, and Pettifer was creating space at the opposite end of the pitch, which was spotted by Allen who fed a neat ball through to give Alnwick an attacking opportunity of their own.
Strong defending won the ball back for Slazengers, though, and they were once again charging forward towards the Alnwick goal.
They collected a ball on the rebound from another strong save by Graham and there was nothing the defence could do as it was sneaked in at the corner to double the lead for the hosts (2-0).
Slazengers continued to dominate possession and the Alnwick girls were becoming increasingly frustrated at a series of bizarre decisions by the umpire, which left them at a loss as to how they might break through.
Shortly before the half-time whistle, Slazengers added to their tally with another set of swift passes, cutting past the defence and ending in a successful shot on goal (3-0).
After the half-time talk, Alnwick Ladies picked up the pace and began to return some of the pressure they had been on the receiving end of for so long. Speedy running by Moralee and Fairbairn created some strong play up either wing with good support work from Oates and Brown gave Alnwick an increasing amount of possession.
Hindmarsh was also making life difficult for the Slazengers’ midfield with skilful stick-work and neat one-two passing with Pettifer at the front-line.
Determined tackling by both Broom and Fornear on the right helped win back possession on numerous occasions in the second half and deny the hosts the number of opportunities they had enjoyed in the first half.
There was still plenty of pressure on the Alnwick defence, though, and further acrobatic saves from Graham were needed to keep the scoreline from increasing in the hosts’ favour.
Horn continued to play with calm confidence and regularly cleared the ball to safety after making a critical tackle or interception. A much-improved second half failed to draw rewards in the form of a goal or two for the Alnwick girls and the full-time whistle ended what had been a frustrating game.
Next weekend sees the Alnwick ladies playing at Longhirst on both Saturday and Sunday in league fixtures to catch up on a backlog of frost-postponed games.
Alnwick: T Graham, S Horn, N Richardson (c), R Allen, J Oates, J Fornear, E Brown, K Moralee, C Hindmarsh, G Pettifer, S Fairbairn, J Broom. Player-of-the-match: Suzanne Horn.