Last-minute pressure pays dividends

Hull I...1 Alnwick I...1

ALNWICK faced Hull on Saturday in the last of their long-haul away games for the season.

Despite their early start and long journey the Alnwick girls were well motivated and started the game brightly with some quick passing and attacking play that saw them quickly putting pressure on the opposition goal area.

Cook was creating difficulties for the Hull defence from the first whistle with some cutting runs and skilful stick-work from both her and fellow central midfield player Brown.

The positive mindset of the Alnwick girls was ensuring they had a significant amount of possession as the half progressed with the back three of Reed, Richardson and Oates regularly pressed up towards the half-way line to keep the ball in their opponents’ half of the pitch.

Hull took advantage of their home pitch knowledge to make the most of a bouncy water-based astro and a couple of well judged attacking moves were denied successful outcomes by some skilful saves from Graham in the Alnwick goal.

Oates was on good form both defensively and in attack and her quick thinking allowed her to intercept a Hull pass and drive up the right wing where she found Broom with a neat pass that she collected and sent swiftly into the D for Alnwick’s best chance of the game thus far.

Straker, making her first team debut, calmly connected her stick to the ball and flicked a shot towards goal forcing a good save from the Hull keeper.

The half-time whistle sounded with the Alnwick girls unlucky to not have converted their pressure into a goal or two but, playing with confidence and skill, they were optimistic about their chances as the second half began.

Hull had used the opportunity for a team talk well and started the second half with purpose and confidence.

Strong tackling from Moralee and Reed on the left won possession back for Alnwick and a cross found Britton with space on the right wing. The resulting press on goal was well cleared by Hull however and they broke quickly with an expertly-timed pass finding their centre forward in the Alnwick D and she duly dispatched a phenomenal and unstoppable shot to give the hosts the lead.

Frustrated at the scoreline but not disheartened, the Alnwick players pushed forward again. Determined play from Oates and Moralee ensured the ball was won back on many occasions when Hull had claimed possession and Pettifer was using her pace to find an increasing number of holes in the home team’s defence.

The continued pressure eventually drew dividends and Alnwick were awarded a penalty corner with just four minutes remaining on the clock.

The initial corner ball fell to Britton who was pushed wide but did well to win another corner in Alnwick’s favour.

The second set play found Cook in her trademark top-D position and she fired the ball at goal; a strong save was only cleared as far as Pettifer’s stick though and she calmly swept the ball into the goal to give the Alnwick ladies a hugely deserved score and earn them a share of the points for the game.

Another double-header for the ladies in red next weekend sees them facing Durham University away on Saturday and league high-fliers Chapeltown at home on Sunday.

Alnwick: T Graham, C Reed, N Richardson (c), J Oates, A Cook, E Brown, C Britton, K Moralee, J Broom, G Pettifer, E Straker. Player-of-the-match: Jo Oates.