GALLERY: Tangerines beat basement side Horsham

Ellie Watton turns inside her marker

Ellie Watton turns inside her marker - Credit: Archant

St Albans Hockey Club ladies’ 1sts defeated bottom of the league Horsham 2-0 at Oaklands.

The hosts started brightly with some intelligent link up play between Emma O’Nien and Emily Panniers but the first real chance fell to Horsham as Stephanie Dent received a perfectly weighted pass from the young Charlotte White, but sent the shot wide.

As the half progressed St Albans were becoming more comfortable on the ball which saw exciting runs from the young O’Nien and Lottie Porter.

Hannah McLeod started to show her talent as she was able to penetrate through the Horsham defence and very nearly setup the first goal but Ellie Watton was unable to control the 30-yard diagonal pass. Moments later another sensational run from MacLeod brought about the first penalty corner for St Albans but it was easily saved by the Horsham keeper, Hannah Simpson.

Horsham were also pressing forward, but, similar to St Albans, were unable to find their way through defensive lines. Horsham were given an advantage in the final minutes of the first half as St Albans defender Miche Bloch was sin-binned for dissent towards the referee.

Both sides were disciplined and well organised defensively throughout the first half with very little between them going into half-time.

St Albans came out in the second half looking vibrant and rejuvenated from the break. Soon into the half they were awarded a penalty corner for a foul on Donna Pringle. However four penalty corners later, Horsham were relieved from their defensive duties following some exceptional saves from Simpson.

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An interception from Watton saw St Albans mount more pressure, as they were rewarded with another penalty corner. The ball was sent out to Sarah Embrey whose shot deflected off a Horsham player and looped over Simpson to give St Albans the lead and the Tangerine army something to cheer.

From then on, St Albans controlled the game as Horsham were unable to break away from their own half and when they did this often resulted in long passes which would thump the fencing behind the goal.

St Albans soon doubled their lead through Watton who sent one flying into the top left corner, leaving the Horsham defence star struck. Macleod carried on impressing the crowds with some excellent skill and control of the ball whilst a shot from O’Nien came agonizing close.

St Albans took complete control of the second half by not allowing Horsham to have the possession they had in the first. It’s an old sporting cliché but this was very much a game of two halves. It’s never easy facing a side in the relegation battle but in the second half St Albans dismissed such concerns with an emphatic display.