|Date||12 January 2019|
|Team||Ladies 1st XI|
|Opposition||Cambridge South 1|
|Result||L 0 - 1|
Pelicans Ladies 1sts v Cambridge South Ladies
Team – Atlanta Stevenson (GK), Tracy Bower, Nic Lankfer, Laura Tea, Ellie Bower, Ellie Burt, Suzie Lemon, Grace Carrier, Poppy Beales, Lucy Lim, Mia Moore and Gabby Stilgoe.
Pelicans warmed up at Cambridge with just 11 players, Gabby Stilgoe having called off with illness. South, as well as being a fit, young team had a full bench available and Peli’s knew a tough test awaited them.
Early pressure was all Cambridge South as the young team passed the ball around fluently and took the attack to Pelicans. With 10 minutes gone, Pelicans broke forward and won a short corner which was dragged wide by Beales. Some 5 minutes later with Pelicans still on the attack, captain Laura Tea showed great control to drive into the South D and fire a lofted shot goal bound which drew a fine save from the South keeper.
Pelicans kept up the pressure with a Mia Moore pass freeing Poppy Beales to drive down the left touchline and crash a cross into the D for Ellie Bower to flash just wide with a neatly deflected shot. Captain Tea who was having a great game in midfield, played a firm and accurate pass into the D just evading the stick of Poppy Beales for an almost certain goal. Just a few moments later Beales crashed a reverse stick shot goalward only to see another good save from the South keeper.
As half time loomed, Ellie Burt, having another fine game in Peli’s midfield regained possession with a perfectly timed and executed shave tackle – a great example of a difficult skill. South though, were back in the ascendency and won a short corner but their well struck straight strike was easily saved by Stevenson in the Pelis goal.
Some 15 mins into the second half, with the score still at 0-0, Nic Lankfer took a painful blow to the forearm and had to go off for attention. South, who had been building pressure took immediate advantage and somehow bundled the ball over the line to open the scoring. 1-0 to Cambridge South. Pelicans nearly made swift amends when Poppy Beales broke away from the close marking of three South players and surged into the D looking odds on to score but was forced wide by good goal keeping and her shot was just outside the post. Again, South responded and a lovely flowing move from them needed a goal line clearance from the ever alert Tracy Bower to thwart them with Stevenson doing well to keep out three further shots on goal from rebounds.
With no subs, Pelicans put in a real shift to keep in the match with stalwart defending from Tracy Bower, a classy midfield display from Laura Tea, a gutsy display from Ellie Bower in an unfamiliar forward position, constant class and industry from Ellie Burt, a battling, full blooded performance at left back from Grace Carrier and constant running and work rate from Lucy Lim. Suzie Lemon tackled and distributed in equal measure and was pivotal in keeping the Pelicans game flowing. Mia Moore looked a little short of confidence probably due to a finger injury followed by the Christmas break that has seen her play no hockey for 8 weeks, but her natural pace and ability still caused problems for the opposition and no doubt she will soon be back to her best. Poppy Beales made a number of surging, individual runs and on another day could have netted 2 or 3 goals but her touch needed to be perfect for what were half chances and again the Christmas lay off would not have helped. Special mention must go to Nic Lankfer who as well as taking a nasty knock, was obviously unwell with seasonal lurgy but put in a battling, brave and energetic performance in defence as well as driving forward like a Dervish on occasion.
A tough match and Pelicans will feel that a draw would have been a fair result, but they were undone by being a player or two short. With two losses and a draw in their last three games, seeing them drop to 8th in the league, Pelis will be hoping that player availability improves, and they can fill the subs bench and field their strongest team in the business end of the season.
Players POM - Suzi Lemon. Coaches POM - Laura Tea