Saints sink Cambridge City slickers

St Albans see off Cambridge City

HOCKEY: A BIG game. A must-win game. The kind of game that makes or breaks a season. St Albans Ladies were nervous, they knew how important it was to take all three points, but they also knew that they were more than capable of doing so.

A promising start saw the Saints dominate possession with a few early corners, a lot of attacking flare and a potential penalty flick denied by the umpires.

Cambridge forced their way into the game with a few breaks down the centre; one particular player wiggled her way through a gauntlet of tangerine shirts a number of times, but was halted by the unbreakable Saints’ defence.

St Albans debutant Tori Rowland slotted in nicely, and Man of the Match Holly Parsons casually and coolly controlled the centre of the pitch, distributing the ball beautifully.

A motivational half time team talk saw the Saints come out with further composure and patience, and it wasn’t long before they broke the deadlock with an absolute textbook goal. The ball started at left back and with six passes and all forwards involved, the ball finally found its way to the back of the net.

Cambridge were frustrated and went down to 10 players, and with 11 Saints battling against tired legs to stay behind the ball and defend as a unit, victory was sweet. Three points never felt so good.

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With snow stopping play before Christmas, St Albans made their way to Sevenoaks on Sunday to complete their double-header weekend. Playing against a side fighting for top spot and with a huge home advantage, the girls couldn’t quite continue their winning ways, despite some gorgeous build-up play. An obvious force to be reckoned with in this league, St Albans will travel to Ipswich next week for another tough but very achievable contest.

Exiles travelled to another important away game without an umpire, and were to live to regret it, as some rather dubious decisions gifted the home side a rather undeserved win.

Exiles travelled to in-form Winchmore Hill and Enfield knowing that a win would ease their relegation worries with a reshuffled side.

Within five minutes the Exiles were leading when marksman, Simon White, finished off a flowing move. Winchmore Hill levelled when the right wing was left unmarked. His cross was finished at close range.

Exiles were playing some good hockey and re-took the lead when Matt Howeson flicked home a penalty corner. Minutes later the lead was further extended when Simon White finished off with a diverted cross, giving the ‘keeper no chance.

At half time Exiles lost influential right-back, Angus McGregor and really didn’t play the second half. Three rather poor decisions by the home umpires gifted the home side their way back into the match. With the ball at least four feet out of play, the umpire allowed play to continue, and moments later the ball was in the net.

This was followed by a block tackle which saw Danny Coupes penalised. The resulting penalty corner was slipped across the goal and into the net.

Winchmore Hill were now back into the game and were further assisted when Simon White was shown a yellow card and sent to the sin-bin for around 10 minutes. The numerical advantage told as the Exiles defence became overwhelmed by attack after attack, and it was no surprise when Winchmore Hill took the lead (4-3) with about five minute of the match remaining.

Despite a late chance for the Exiles, they could not find the finish to take a point. Fortunately, other results went in their favour, but must win at least two of the remaining eight games to survive in Division Three for 2011/2012 season.