The Sheffield Hockey Women’s 2s brushed aside a tough Newcastle 2s in a thrilling 5-1 win on Wednesday.
Sheffield started the game well early in the first half by securing a penalty corner in the first minute, only to have it blocked well by Newcastle’s goalkeeper. Newcastle were put on the back foot after this, allowing Sheffield to press higher and play deep in Newcastle’s half.
It was this kind of dominant play that led to the first goal, as the ball was sent to the right flank and then swung in beautifully straight onto the stick of Sheffield’s centre who controlled it and smashed it under the keeper’s legs to give Sheffield an early lead ten minutes into the match.
After conceding, Newcastle managed a strong spell of possession and began to test Sheffield’s defence, which proved to be one of Sheffield’s greatest strengths in the game.
The game sparked into life late in the first half, when Sheffield almost scored a second goal identical to their first. The ball was played out on the right flank and was whipped in by their right winger only for the centre to fumble the touch onto her stick, giving Newcastle enough time to intercept and clear the danger.
Straight after, Newcastle instantly broke down the right flank to stage a well-timed counter attack that left their centre one on one with Sheffield’s keeper, only to be denied by some great reflexes to stick out a foot at the last second, in what would be the last chance of the first half.
As the teams came back out for the second half, it was clear that Sheffield were hungry for more goals. They won themselves two penalty corners in the first two minutes, but both were defended well by Newcastle.
Sheffield got their reward nine minutes into the second half, as their centre managed to weave their way past a defender and let loose a shot that just beat the keeper, doubling their lead.
Sheffield found joy again two minutes later, as a great pass upwards from the middle of the park was touched well by the centre and after doing a 180˚ spin, she placed the ball perfectly past the left-hand side of the keeper to make it 3-0.
However, this euphoria was short lived, as Newcastle managed to instantly silence the home team with a goal from nothing, slapping home a great shot that left Sheffield’s defence bewildered.
After that goal, Newcastle managed to inject some life into their game and almost managed to grab a second. However, the Sheffield goalkeeper was stable once again and managed to stretch out a foot to trap the ball and stop Newcastle from getting themselves back into the match.
Soon though there was a string of fouls which cooled the game down a bit, allowing for Sheffield to rebuild their defence and try and see out this match.
With just ten minutes left to play, Sheffield managed to make it four goals, as a pinpoint cross came in from the right flank. The goal echoed their first with the centre having enough time to control the ball with her stick and smash it past the keeper with a well drilled effort.
Although they were 4-1 down at this point, Newcastle did not give up during the last ten minutes of the match. They pressed Sheffield really well, and managed to win a penalty corner which was saved expertly by Sheffield’s keeper, who stuck out a hand to deflect an airborne shot.
However, in the dying moments of the match, Sheffield won a penalty corner and managed to make it five after the ball was passed short to the left winger, who struck home sweetly.
The resounding win for Sheffield means they move into second place and leapfrog Leeds 2s, putting them just four points behind the league leaders, Durham 3s, who they will face in the New Year.