Following on from last week’s fine opening league victory against Halifax, Adel Ladies 1s returned to AWMA for their first outing on the new surface. Missing a few key players, Adel had the advantage of the 12th player, a loud and unruly bunch of misfits and reprobates on the sideline. The game started nervously, Adel not firing on all cylinders, maybe it was the crowd, the lack of warmup time on the pitch, a change in position for many players or even the shocking contrast of blue and green turf! It was however a Wakefield player who had the first wakeup call as she dared to creep into the area beyond the last defensive line, only to be completely upended and sent skywards by goalkeeper Sarah McCall, a penalty flick awarded before the player hit the deck, her joints glad to feel a new shockpad one suspects. The keeper had stamped her mark on the game, it was inevitable that the flick taker would crumble, and a fine penalty save showed that aggression can go with finesse, redemption and game on!
The rest of the half passed with little incident. Adel backline of Warburton, Barson, Byers and Henry slowly closed out Wakefield, comfortable keeping them safe distance from goal. Captain Helen Goacher settling the re-arranged midfield and forward line. Composure slowly restored, Adel were ready to take this game to the opposition, bring on the next 35 minutes.
Adel started the half, with a new found urgency and intensity, the ball moved with pace and accuracy, superb movement of the ball creating pockets of space in and around the Wakefield back line. The interchanging of Hopper, Fox, Smith, Blyth, C Goacher and Clarke around a tireless Jenny Wright, hit Wakefield with wave after wave of flowing attacking hockey, it was surely a matter of time before Wakefield would crack and buckle under this torrent of pressure. Sadly not, Adel growing in frustration quickly saw the tables turn again, two yellow cards in two minutes, saw Adel down to nine. The attacking width sacrificed to ensure stability through the centre of the field. The defence stayed true, calm in possession, solid to the last, the ten minutes soon passed. 10 minutes to go, this one was going to the wire. Wakefield quickly condensed into their 23m area, Adel unable to break continued to press higher and higher, as quickly as they lost the ball it was won back again, chance after half chance created and not used, the team resorted to finally trying some training ground set play routines, still nothing. Another short corner won, the final whistle blown, it was now or never. Wakefield knew from their last outing against Adel, that they will do almost anything to get a goal on final whistle. A scramble in front of goal, but this time no last gasp victory.
Initially disappointed with the result, on reflection the team showed strength and character throughout, a penalty save, reshuffled lineup, playing with nine and a fourth clean sheet (of 8) so far for the season, this unbeaten side will go to Boston Spa looking to improve and build on the good work done so far and collect three points, with no European matches this week, a well earned rest for the team.