Alnwick I...1 Durham University III...3
BOTH teams started brightly on Saturday when Alnwick hosted Durham University at Longhirst.
A fast-paced game saw the ball moving from end to end of the pitch and demanded some quick thinking and decisive action from the Alnwick defence of Horn, Richardson and Frew to keep the students from scoring early on.
Alnwick matched their opposition with a number of well-worked attacks of their own, finding Pettifer and Britton with the space to pressure the Durham keeper and force a number of good saves.
Durham continued to press. With speedy passing and some skilful stick-work from their midfield, they earned a series of penalty corners which the Alnwick defence dealt with effectively and securely cleared their lines, much to their opponents’ frustration.
Keeper Graham was also producing some excellent saves to keep the scoresheet clean for the home team but eventually a clever manoeuvre saw Durham engineer an overlap to work the ball around the circle and slot it into the goal to give them a one-goal lead at half-time (0-1).
Alnwick started the second half with the majority of possession and some strong driving play from Reed and Cook saw the ball enter the goal area, where a Durham foul led to Alnwick’s first penalty corner of the match.
Cook received the ball and a quick pass back to Horn saw the keeper having to make a fast reflex save to deny Alnwick a goal.
Alnwick continued to pile on the pressure with Britton sending a number of her precision, legendary crosses into the goal area, causing headaches for the opposition defenders.
A skillful run from Brown led to her being able to spread the ball out to Murray, who collected it at the edge of the D and swept a strong strike towards goal and past the keeper to draw the score level for the home team (1-1).
Durham had brought a squad of 16 with them for the game though and as the second half progressed their fresher legs began to tell as they found increasing gaps through the Alnwick players.
A penalty-corner finally paid dividends for the visitors as they managed to play the ball around the defenders’ sticks and into the corner of the goal (1-2).
Alnwick continued to work hard, though, and were unlucky not to score again despite continued forays into the Durham goal area. With just a few minutes remaining, Durham scored again to seal their win and end the game with a two-goal cushion (1-3).
Alnwick make the journey to top-of-the-table Chapeltown for their game on Saturday hoping for another strong away performance.
Alnwick: C Frew, S Horn, N Richardson (c), R Murray, A Cook, E Brown, C Britton, T Graham, E Young, G Pettifer, C Reed. Player-of-the-match: Caroline Reed.