‘Story of our season’ as St Albans left rueing Wimbledon defeat

Bethan Davies in action for St Albans against Wimbledon. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Bethan Davies in action for St Albans against Wimbledon. Picture: KEVIN LINES - Credit: Archant

As the old adage goes ‘goals win games’ and never was that more true as St Albans Hockey Club Ladies lost 2-0 at home to Wimbledon.

Wimbledon had come into the game at Oaklands College second in the Investec Women’s Conference East with just one defeat in five.

But for the opening 53 minutes they were arguably second-best to a determined St Albans side.

However, two strikes from Lizzie Rae in the space of two minutes completely turned the game.

It left player-coach Hannah Macleod rueful at the final whistle, saying it summed up the “story of our season”.

She said: “Concentration is something we’re struggling with. We’ve spoke a lot about it but there’s a lot of difference between talking about it and doing it under pressure.

We’ve got a few things to do in training to put that pressure on players but we’re a good team.

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“It’s confidence now. We put ourselves under pressure earlier in the season and it’s now about getting players to believe a bit more in what we’re doing. We’ve got the quality in our team.

“I’m biased but based on the first half performance, we should have won. I’m just disappointed with how we reacted to those goals going in.

“That’s not a characteristic that I want to see from this team or any team I’m involved in. We’ve got to fight to the end and still walk off the pitch proud of our performance.”

Wimbledon started with plenty of territory but without getting the better of a resolute St Albans defence.

And as the half went on it was the hosts who created the goalscoring opportunities.

Great feet and stick work by Amie Hone forced Rose Thomas into a save and three penalty corners in succession kept the Dons pinned back.

Bethan Davies shot just wide after a great move before Hone again found Thomas equal to a shot.

They didn’t have it all their own way and Wimbledon were unfortunate not to take the lead when Cherry Seaborn hit the post.

Both teams took their time finding their rhythm after the break but again it was St Albans who shaded it.

A well-worked move from a penalty corner between Hone and Katie Hockley saw the former shoot just wide and the pair were denied a repeat showing moments later.

The missed chances for the Tangerines proved costly as Rae struck, the first from a penalty corner which somehow found its way through the crowd, and the second after the ball wasn’t properly cleared.

It knocked the stuffing out of Albans and in the end they were indebted to Sarah Lavers, who kept the score at two with a couple of outstanding saves.

There was better news for the men’s first team who moved closer to the top of the East of England Premier League with a 1-0 win against Bedford on Saturday.

They now sit in second place with five wins from six, three points behind Old Loughts.

The 3rds also came away with three points following a 2-1 win against London Wayfarers while the 7ths beat Luton Vagrants 2-1 and the 9ths won 4-1 against Bishop’s Stortford.

Back in the ladies section, goals from Hayley Payne and Annie Barratt helped the 2nds draw 2-2 with Ipswich while the 3rds beat local rivals Harpenden 3-1.

Becca Burton (two) and Helen Waddell were the scorers.