Newmarket Ladies 1’s v St Ives Ladies 2’s. 1-1 Draw.
Newmarket ladies 1’s could afford to play champagne hockey against St Ives last weekend as outcomes of other matches that morning meant they would sit in the promotion zone – win, lose or draw. Never the less the team wanted to end the season on a high and win by further clear points instead of relaying on goal difference.
St Ives also had a point to prove as they had been battling with Town for the top spot all season and every goal to them was vital in chasing second place, a possible promotion position. Newmarket were aware of this and also that their opposition were incredibly hard to get goals past and were swift on the counter attack.
Newmarket collected their thoughts, wanting to put on a good display for the home fans who had thankfully come out to support. They began with a hard press on the defence and seemed to have brought the winning mentality with them from the previous week’s victory against Cambridge University.
Within the first five minutes Town were getting some hot shots towards goal and the St Ives keeper must be commended for her resilience in turning each away. Weaving throughout the defence tirelessly Beth Wombwell was looking sharp and challenging the defence. Working well with her, Claire McDonnell was in support and constantly dropping her markers and driving to goal. Abbi Pass too was finding space on the wing and providing an outlet ball.
Despite the pressure St Ives were not prepared to cave and were looking dangerous running through midfield, utilising experienced players. Jade Atkinson had to be on song in goal to keep them from capitalising and Gail Parkins showed great instinct and tracked back to goal after it looked like Atkinson had been beaten and saved the shot on the line, feeding to Jazz Wombwell who then dropping the ball out of harms way.
Sisters Lydia and Grace Evans were a credit to their team executing great skill and passing to fox St Ives and make pathways to the goal mouth. The first half seemed to go quickly for Newmarket and with a few minutes to go Kerry Alderson made a charging run from the back of the field after a spot on delivery from Faye Andreou, she skipped past 3 players and slapped the ball top of D. Di Thomas was plumb in front of the keeper shielding her from playing the ball and with a flick of the wrist she used her trademark reverse flick to net and take Town ahead.
The visitors were still as keen to challenge in the second half and make Newmarket work for their lead. The play was back and fourth and urgency to deliver was evident from both teams with a few wild tackles that the umpires were vocal in cutting out. April Atkinson looked solid as ever on the ball and used her pace and awareness to provide for her teammates as well as getting shots at goal as well. Zoe Bailey was alert to the challenges and produced a lovely move down the right wing that almost resulted in a second for Town.
With just ten minutes remaining until the league win was confirmed Newmarket looked a little frayed and they were giving St Ives too much running space. A short corner was awarded and after a left slip the ball nestled in the back of goal meaning the two teams would share the points. Perhaps the reassurance that they were safe in the championship position resulted in a less passionate performance. However the team has been consistent all season notching up 11 wis, 2 draws and 3 loses with a total of 51 goals. It means after 3 seasons of close finishes they finally finish the league at the top and gain the promotion the side surely deserves. Thanks must go to the coaching team, especially Nick Thorpe.