Ladies 1s beat top of the league
Henley Ladies 1s put in another exceptional team performance last Saturday to beat top of the league Oxford, bringing Oxford’s unbeaten season to an end.
This was the third week in a row that Henley have taken 3 points off one of the top two placed teams – the South League Division 3A being particularly tight as the top four teams vie for promotion. Henley were keen to build on their recent winning form, under the guidance of Coach Rhys Joyce, and went into the game confident they could correct both the league and trophy defeats to Oxford earlier in the season.
Henley’s confidence caught Oxford off guard and the home side piled on the pressure right from the whistle. It wasn’t long before the amber and blues won a short corner and whilst the planned routine went astray, improvisation saw Captain Georgie Metcalfe receive the ball with her back to goal, turn and flick the ball into the net.
It was 15 minutes into the game before the visiting side entered their attacking D, but Henley’s defence had by no means been taking it easy. Tight marking, good communication and well-worked transfers around the backline of Rach Herbert, Kat Green and Chloe Nelson, caused the Oxford strikers many problems and helped create a solid platform from which to build attacks from the turnover of ball.
Henley’s second short corner, won by Charlotte Cockerton who’d skilfully dribbled past a number of Oxford players which ended in them giving away a foul in the D, allowed Henley to execute a favourite routine that saw Sophie Hoskins deflect the ball over the line from a Green disguise pass.
By now Oxford had regrouped and got back into the game. Henley’s keeper Hannah Lavis came to the rescue a number of times after Oxford were able to get away strikes at goal. Unfortunately one particularly Oxford quick attack resulted in an unmarked player who had the time to tip a well-weighted ball into the goal, leaving the score at 2-1 at half time.
The second half produced another 35 minutes of excellent hockey between the two sides. Centre midfielders Jem Mackie and Lou England caused trouble for Oxford as their tireless legwork helped Henley keep possession. Wingers Emma Walker and Mel Joyce also linked well with strikers Hoskins, Metcalfe and Keira Halloran but despite large proportions of time spent in Henley’s attacking half, attempts at goal were cleared up by the Oxford ‘keeper and they were unable to win another short corner.
As the final whistle loomed, Oxford’s desperate desire to equalise intensified and Henley spent the final 10 minutes doing everything they could to stop the visiting side from getting the shots away they needed. Ellie Roseff in the sweeper position, quite literally swept up many attacks by putting in some vital tackles, much to Oxford’s frustration.
This was a fantastic but well-deserved result for Henley, but in order to make these last few weeks count they need to repeat their form against the teams lower down in the league, which resumes after a week’s break for half term