Two Tales of Woe-not all bad though!
Not a bad away result against stiff competition on pitch with more sand than Blackpool!
The Newlands College astro is probably not one of our favoured away venues and a trip there always heralds a tough match against the strong Amersham and Chalfont ladies. Saturday’s match was no exception; the difficult pitch conditions were compounded by heavy rain leading up to push-back and through most of the first half.
Despite the conditions, the match was great with both sides playing open and passing hockey. Strong contributions from Charlotte and Claire allowed Maidenhead to shade the possession and territory stats through the first half and create some great opportunities through both shorts and open play and the Amersham and Chalfont defence, were lucky to scramble the ball away on a few occasions.
Amersham and Chalfont stepped up the pressure in the second half winning a number of short corners but with Liz leading at the back, Maids were resolute in defence and pushed forward at every opportunity. It was from a forward push from Maids that Amersham and Chalfont made the decisive break. Winning possession deep in their own half, they broke in numbers, transferred the ball quickly and scored a well worked goal, with 10 minutes left of the match.
Despite pushing forward for the remainder of the match and winning a number of shorts, Maids were unable to get what would have been a deserved equalizer!
So a disappointing loss, but a great game and a great team performance, which was epitomized by the player-of-the-match nominations spanning players from the goal-keeper right through to the attack!
We will look forward to playing them again in January back on our own pitch and should be confident of turning the result around!
By Bethan Bloor
Maidenhead expected a tough game – we had seen A&C had won their game 7-0 last week, but as Debbie pointed out – we should be positive as we had won 5-0 ourselves. Warming up, we agreed that this is probably one of the worst astros we will play on! Sandy, and uneven, the pitch is slow, so we needed to adjust our skills – and try and keep as much pace on the ball as possible.
The first half began – and the rain came down hard, as did their attack. Unlike some other teams we face, A&C seemed to have more experienced players with good overall fitness. Maidenhead tried to focus on man to man marking, Charlotte had to contend with more than one attacker coming down their left wing, whilst Gill had a roaming right wing who looked to be the key striker. The first quarter of the game saw Maidenhead give away several short corners – but Charlotte’s strong fast sprinting meant they didn’t make anything of these opportunities – and Alexis in goal was rarely tested. Towards the end of the first half, Maidenhead really found their shape, taking free hits quickly really paid off and the midfield Deia, Bryony and Bethan worked some magic to release the ball to Jade, Jo and Debbie – and with some lovely runs up the right – we won a couple of short corners. We were unable to convert on these, and another break saw Maidenhead miss a golden open goal opportunity – we were starting to play our game and challenge for the win. The end of the first half saw A&C attack Maidenhead again, Charlotte, Gill and Liz were outnumbered and although A&C did put the ball past Alexis at one point, they were denied a goal after some discussion with a not too confident umpire – we ended the first half all square – and very, very wet.
The start of the 2nd half, the sun came out, much to the relief of the Maidenhead mini parent supporting gang on the side-lines! We changed our format with Bethan switching to RB. Charlotte was then free for more attacking play. Maidenhead struggled to release the ball to our wings, but once we did – Claire, Hannah, Issy, Jo and Jade, were able to use their pace to get round a tiring A&C defence. Both teams battled hard, but A&C held strong, and a break in the middle left the Maidenhead defence out of position, and Alexis left to defend against a charging 3 strong A&C attackers – they surely had to score, after saving one shot sadly their second shot did. Maidenhead tried to get the break back, but had to defend multiple short corners – our passionate and sometimes noisy defence – shook the opposition and we held on to finish 1-0 down.
At the end of the day, Maidenhead had worked hard (Jade’s amazing steaming legs were evidence), but we were disappointed. We cannot wait for the rematch on a proper pitch – watch out A&C – we will be ready for you!
By Liz Allen
PS from Debbie
Great reports guys it was a real battle from the off last week and certainly no walk over for A and C!
The message regarding the home match will keep us focused for the return game!