The University of Sheffield Women’s Hockey 3s team produced a strong performance against Manchester Metropolitan University 2s, winning 4-0 in their opening BUCS Challenge Cup fixture of the season.
A great win for the 3s last week against York 2s meant spirits were high for Wednesday’s match. However, after some confusion about which league the Cheshire-based team were in, it was soon discovered they also in the third tier of BUCS Northern hockey, leaving Sheffield feeling positive for the game ahead.
It was quickly revealed that the away team were not as strong as first thought; a weak defence and lack of counter attacks meant Sheffield dominated throughout.
With MMU leaving the whole right wing unmarked Sheffield utilised and pushed forward, producing some stunning one-two passes between Sophy Crane, Lizzie Hall and Rachel Sladden.
The incisive attacking play resulted in a first great goal from Megan Todd on the right wing where she made a strong shot at goal to the bottom corner from a squared ball from Emily Young.
In a flurry of penalty corners against Sheffield, and a few injuries along the way, it wasn’t all smooth for the home team with Manchester managing to get in the ‘D’ for some penalties.
Thankfully for the 3s – a strongly defensive team – the goals were prevented and counters were produced.
The next goal for Sheffield was from a penalty corner, a strong strike from Sophie Graham ended in a deflection from Sophy Crane, producing a score of 2-0.
Heads were high at this point for Sheffield and the girls managed another goal with Rachel Sladden making a break and putting a strong ball straight through the Manchester keeper’s legs, ending with a half time score of 3-0.
Manchester struggled to keep pushing after half time and no real chances were had for them. However, the score was still to change with a strong attack from Sheffield.
After the Manchester defence fell through, the keeper managed to make a save but kicked the ball to Sophy Crane who picked it up for a reverse tap in.
A somewhat easy game for Sheffield meant they proceed to the quarter-finals in the Northern Conference Cup along with Sheffield Women’s 2s.
Sheffield’s vice-captain Lottie Thomas told Forge Sport: “We were completely relentless in defence where they didn’t have much opportunity to get through us at all”, words epitomising the game for Sheffield.
Thomas went on to commend her side for stepping up, and hopes they build on their strong performance with a tough game next week against Newcastle 3s.