|Date||19 January 2019|
|Team||Ladies 1st XI|
|Venue||Pelicans Hockey Pitches|
|Result||W 4 - 1|
Pelicans Ladies 1sts v Alford & District Ladies 1sts January 19th 2019 at Pelicans Hockey Club.
Team – Atlanta Stevenson (GK), Tracy Bower, Laura Tea (Capt.), Nic Lankfer, Ellie Burt, Suzi Lemon, Lucy Lim, Mia Moore, Poppy Beales, Grace Carrier, Gabby Stilgoe, Emily Pluck, Ellie Bower and Holly Nash.
Pelicans warmed up in good spirits and having the luxury of a squad of 14 players having been down to just 11 the previous week. The team formed up in their customary diamond formation with Stevenson in goal, Pluck left back, Tracy Bower centre back, Nic Lankfer right back, Grace Carrier left mid, Ellie Burt base of the diamond, Suzi Lemon right mid, Laura Tea top of the diamond, Mia Moore left wing, Poppy Beales centre forward and Gabby Stilgoe on right wing. Holly Nash, Lucy Lim and Ellie Bower started on the bench.
Peli’s knew from experience to expect a physical game from a committed Alford team but seemed confident despite that. Alford showed their mettle and dominated the opening exchanges with Pelicans rarely venturing into the opposition half. As Pelicans settled into their game, Poppy Beales picked up a pass on the opposition 23 yard line and drove into the D, sending a deliberate but slow paced shot seemingly wide of the post, only for the bemused Alford keeper to watch it roll gently into the corner. 10 minutes gone and 1-0 to Pelicans.
The goal saw Alford redouble their efforts and the Pelicans defence showed their usual industry in keeping them out including a number of outstanding interceptions and dead traps of hard, fast airborne balls from Tracy Bower. A free hit just inside the Alford half saw a swiftly taken self-pass from Pelican’s centre forward Beales who drove to the right of the D, firing a cross in for the waiting Lucy Lim at top D who crashed a well taken reverse strike into the left corner of the goal. 2-0 to Pelicans.
The Pelicans bench saw players regularly rolling on and off the pitch, as first Ellie Burt and then Grace Carrier took nasty blows to the back of the leg. Pelicans were not quite on their passing game but great driving play from Stilgoe, Lemon and Lim, ably supported by Burt and Tea kept Pelicans driving forward and the Alford keeper did well to deny the Pelicans forwards on a number of occasions. Alford were far from done though and kept up the attack, eventually forcing the ball over the line from a crowded D. 2-1 and game on.
Both teams kept pressing and the game swung from end to end with both teams winning short corners and coming close to scoring. Pelicans won yet another, and having tried a number of routines, put in powerful injection straight to captain, Laura Tea who struck the ball sweetly and very hard straight into the bottom left corner. 3-1 to Pelicans.
Alford were not going to accept defeat and continued to push forward, a high risk necessity with Pelicans now firmly in the ascendancy and looking likely to exploit the defensive gaps. An Alford short corner saw Pelicans no. 1 runner Emily Pluck, charge down a well struck shot which unfortunately she took on the hip forcing her to leave the field. Pelicans gained possession and swept the ball upfield, recycling backwards when threatened and culminating in a lovely flowing move that saw the ball crossed into the D for the well placed Beales to fire home. A superb phase of hockey from Pelicans with virtually every player involved in the build-up. Final score 4-1 to Pelicans.
In rather a sad footnote, the physical nature of the game got out of hand on occasion and just before full time, one of the young Pelicans forwards was sent sprawling into a heap on the ground, off the ball and out of sight of the umpire having had her feet taken from behind by the crook of a stick. The possibility of a nasty injury was all too obvious, and the senior Alford player involved should clearly know better. Happily, no one was hurt but there is no place for such behaviour in the game.
POM – Gabby Stilgoe for a fine display of pace, control and driving hockey. A force to be reckoned with.