'˜Gate Ladies return to form with comfortable home win over Didsbury
Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1sts made a return to winning ways when they beat Didsbury Greys by a 4-0 scoreline in North Division One.
Following back-to-back defeats, Rachel Till’s side were determined to get their season back on track and immediately went on the offensive, piling the pressure on the visiting defence.
And the first goal of the afternoon arrived inside the opening 10 minutes when player of the match Evelyn Wright powered along the baseline before slipping the ball past the Didsbury keeper and just inside the post.
With momentum in their favour, ‘Gate worked hard to keep pushing forwards and were rewarded with a number of short-corners which eventually saw Evie Barnard get her name on the score-sheet following a well-placed strike from the top of the circle.
The hosts took their two-goal advantage into half-time and continued to dominate the play following the resumption.
Didsbury retreated to their own half, doing all they could to keep ‘Gate at bay, but had no answer to the home team’s fluent inter-play.
The attacks came from all angles, with April Leeson pushing forward from defence and threatening down the right hand side and Laura Anderson rampaging down the left.
The visitors began to lose their cool and saw players sin-binned for misconduct for making poor tackles out of frustration.
‘Gate made the most of their numerical advantage and a Sarah Gibbins run along the basline allowed her to take two defenders out of the game before slipping the ball back to the penalty spot for Shelly Harrison to power home.
It was then birthday girl Harrison who claimed the final goal of the game with a diving finish to wrap up a comfortable victory.
“The quality of the players we’ve got in the squad culminated in this performance,” coach Alex Fletcher said.
“We looked at working hard off the ball and jumping back when we didn’t have it and creating space and chances in front of goal when we did have it.
“We knew that we were going to have to put in a top performance to get the points, we’ve got three difficult games coming up against teams around and above us in the table, so we needed this platform to move forwards.”
The Ladies 2nds also ended a run of two losses when they claimed a 2-2 draw by the seaside.
‘Gate started their clash at Bridlington 1sts brightly with good movement up front from Sian Simpson, Hannah Nash and Jayne Montague.
The Bridlington defence mananged to soak up the pressure, however, and counter-attacked well, winning a penalty-corner which they converted with a straight strike from the top of the circle.
Despite the setback, the visitors continued to push forward and dominate possession.
The pressure eventually told when they won a penalty-corner of their own and Jenny Allen beat a player at the top of the circle and scored with a reverse-stick shot to level things up.
In the second half, ‘Gate continued to see plenty of the ball and the best move of the game came when Cecilia Allen advanced out of defence and found Ali Wales whose weighted pass left Rachel Clarke one-on-one with the home goalkeeper, only to see her produce a fantastic save.
Bridlington then made Harrogate pay for not taking their chances, moving back in front on the counter-attack with 10 minutes remaining.
The Ainsty Road side didn’t give up, however, and netted a second equaliser from a well-worked penalty corner, Wales deflecting Cecilia Allen’s slap past the keeper just four minutes from time.
Simpson and Jenny Allan shared the Harrogate player of the match award.
The 3rd XI claimed a 2-1 home win over Colne Valley 1sts.
Following a strong start to the match they were rewarded with an opportunist’s tap-in from Lily Wheat, only just on the field as a substitute, after some fine work by Emily Adshead.
Harrogate then doubled their advantage with an excellent corner routine that took the opposition completely by surprise, Sophie and Lesley Normand exchanging short passes before Claire Turner slotted homefor 2-0.
Colne did a pull a goal back, but the hosts managed to see the game out and take the points.
The Ladies 4ths overcame Cleckheaton 1sts by a 2-0 scoreline away from home.