Adel Ladies’ 1st XI met for the second fixture of the weekend, this time a last 16 England Hockey Investec Trophy home tie with Leamington. Both teams top of their respective leagues, the top two defensive records in all of the national and regional senior leagues.
Boring it was not……
Adel started nervously, allowing Leamington to hold the early possession, Adel rushing on the ball, struggling to hold any possession of their own, the early minutes of the games looked like there would be little stopping Leamington comfortably progressing. Adel however started to grow into the game, McCall making early saves, giving the defence confidence to distribute the ball, Byers, Gibson, Love, Jeavons and Henry working hard to win the ball and harder to keep hold of it in possession. The first goal however could not be stopped, Leamington taking the advantage with a close range finish.
The midfield battle was heating up, early dominance by Leamington now matched and overtaken by H.Goacher, A.Blyth, K.Blyth and Hesselwood. Holding possession and distributing the ball to the front line, chances now being created for the fast, interchanging front line of Wood, Straughan, Smith, Bickley and C.Goacher. The pressure slowly mounting, Wood leveled the scores with a close range finish. It could have been more as Adel felt they had a shout for a penalty flick, the short corner awarded and not converted.
Adel continued to grow in confidence, the full squad interchanging and keeping the intensity high, the fitness starting to show and the hard work paying off, Jenny must have been pleased.
Half time 1-1, honours even.
The second half started evenly again, both teams taking their chances to push forward. Chances falling few and far between as the defensive players from both teams controlled the game. It would take something special to break the deadlock, a long range forward pass to Wood, left her in possession with just a defender to beat, however a little look and a lot of composure and the ball was passed to K.Blyth bursting forward with a 50 yard sprint, very cool as she rounded the keeper and stuffed the ball into the goal, much to the delight of the large home crowd.
Another ten minutes would roll on, Adel converting a smart short corner with a deflected finish, the crowd elated by what appeared to be a winning goal, disallowed by the umpire who felt the ball hadn’t fully left the area in the build up.
Leamington now pushed forward with nothing to lose, as the Leamington forward entered the area, McCall would be ready, the player however completely missing the ball with a wild swing, Adel players ducking for cover, Leamington found a ball across goal which was turned in, surely not, surely is, 2-2.
Leamington’s third would be less controversial applying pressure down their left wing, a thunder strike from a very tight angle, one of the best to take the lead.
With noting to lose Adel piled forward, unable to find the goal so desperately needed, as the minutes passed Adel would roll the dice one last time, withdrawing the keeper to try and tempt the opposition forward to open some gaps. The gamble however would not pay off, Leamington hitting their forth into an open goal.
This was the first time the team have failed to win in eleven months, however the team can take confidence from their performance, unfortunate to miss out in a fiercely competitive game of hockey. This team will continue to grow with the ambition of playing at a higher level week in, week out.
A special thank you to Catherine Whitworth who joined up with the 1st team squad for the first time since her transfer from Selby.
Many thanks to the umpires and the incredible Adel home fans who remained positive and encouraging throughout.