The local bragging rights went the way of the University of Sheffield as the Women’s Hockey 4s triumphed 5-1 over Sheffield Hallam 4s at Goodwin Sports Centre.
Two goals apiece for Annys Fearon and Sophie Norman, as well as one from Fru Wilson on the stroke of half-time, earned the Black and Golds a comprehensive victory.
The hosts were on it from the off, keeping possession well and seeking to move the ball quickly; their dominance was justly reflected in the three-goal advantage that they had at the break.
Hallam offered plenty of resistance early on, defending well to crowd out any shooting opportunities – especially when Sheffield were presented with an early chance from a short corner.
However, there was an air of inevitability about the home team’s opener.
Fearon had already proved a thorn in the visitors’ back line, peeling away from defenders to create space for herself. She threatened when firing wide from just a few yards out when the ball was drilled into her at pace, and it was no surprise when she broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Sheffield worked a penalty corner neatly, and Fearon was left alone at the far post to smartly flick the ball into the net.
They refused to rest on their laurels, and soon doubled their advantage. If the first could be attributed to a well-worked team move, this one was all down to a moment of quality from Norman. Just inside the ‘D’, the centre forward escaped the attentions of her marker before unleashing a powerful driven effort on goal which found the bottom corner.
Playing full of confidence, the hosts fired just off target from a penalty corner, but that proved only a temporary let off for Hallam. At the end of the first 35 minutes, Sheffield packed the ‘D’ with bodies and made their pressure count as Wilson put her side three to the good.
With that, any hopes that the away team had of producing a comeback effectively vanished, and their task was made all the more difficult just after the restart when Fearon bagged her second goal of the afternoon after another intelligently worked short corner.
To their credit Hallam kept going, and they showed good character to work a quick break down the right flank which was converted by Charlotte Reynolds.
But Sheffield sought a four-goal cushion, and made it 5-1 moments later, with Norman also grabbing her second goal of the day. This was another terrific strike as she shot between the goalkeeper’s legs and into the far corner.
The home side always looked the more likely to add to the score-line, but the match petered out and they could be very content with a deserved three points and five goals to go with it.
Coach Alex Eyre was left delighted with his players’ performance.
“There were a lot of new faces in the team, and I think everyone gelled really well so it was good to come away with such a positive win so early in the season,” he said.
“Hallam was probably one of the more difficult games in the league so to win so well against them bodes really well for the rest of the season.”