Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI hold derby rivals to bag third consecutive draw
Helen Goacher and her team went into the fixture expecting a tough test against local rivals who are looking to bounce straight back after being relegated from Division One North last season.
And they did indeed find themselves under real pressure immediately from the start of the game, with Leeds’ high press causing some initial problems for the home players.
But it was Harrogate who broke the deadlock against the run of play with a goal that arrived following their best attacking move of the afternoon.
Some swift passing out from the back released Holly Oldham down the left flank. Advancing at pace, she played an inside pass to youngster Grace Schofield-Mell, who in turn found Charlotte Crossman unmarked at the top right of the ‘D’, from where she hammered home a clinical finish.
Leeds were straight back on the front foot as they looked to get themselves back into the contest, forcing three fine saves out of ‘Gate player of the match, Sarah Mirtaheri.
Just as it looked as if the home side had weathered the storm, possession was lost just inside their own half and the ball was quickly transferred forwards by the visitors, who drilled in an equalising goal.
The second half saw a pacy and skilfull Leeds outfit enjoy plenty of possession, though they were unable to engineer very few clear-cut chances, thanks largely to some disciplined and resolute defending by the ‘Gate trio of Abi Von Tonder, Harriet Evans and captain Goacher.
Despite seeing less of the ball, it was Harrogate who created the better opportunities to win the match.
A stretching Jacs Smith just couldn’t quite get on the end of an inviting cross with the net gaping, while Oldham almost decided matters in the last minute, seeing a shot well saved and just failing to reach the rebound.
Harrogate remain ninth in the table following Saturday’s result, but they find themselves just three points off third place.
This weekend sees them make the difficult-looking away trip to top-of-the-table Pendle Forest.
Harrogate Men’s 1st XI remain without a win in the Yorkshire & North East Premier Division following Saturday’s 2-1 reverse at Stockton.