University of Sheffield 3-2 University of Cambridge
The University of Sheffield women’s hockey team took a break from the league this week as they took on Cambridge in the first round of the BUCS Trophy. Having recorded three wins in the league so far, the home side were looking to extend this impressive run against their Midlands opponents.
If Sheffield were under any illusions about the calibre of their opposition, then the first ten minutes put that right. Cambridge showed no signs of their long journey affecting them and started the game the brighter side, camping themselves almost exclusively in Sheffield’s final third, and Alice Mellar had to be at her best to stop them taking an early lead.
Gradually, Sheffield got themselves into the match and despite Cambridge’s high pressing causing problems, Kate O’Sullivan and Hollie Webb started to dictate play. It was not long before the home side broke the deadlock with Webb robbing the Cambridge central defender, beating two players and then the goalkeeper before slotting home. Despite the goal, the game remained very tight and in the 31st minute Cambridge managed to squeeze home a scrappy equaliser as Sheffield paid the ultimate price for a couple of missed tackles in the D.
With the match evenly poised, it was the home side that took the iniative at the beginning of the second half. There was only a minute on the clock when Isabel Millar and Webb both had efforts that flashed past the goal and even though Sheffield were looking sharp in attack they were lacking that final killer ball, and as such were keeping Cambridge in the game.
With the game progressing it was slightly against the run of play that they secured their second goal. On 54 minutes, Sheffield secured a penalty corner and despite a good first initial save, the goalkeeper was helpless as Jessica Kennedy sent the ball into the net with aplomb. However almost straight after, Cambridge were back level after a good move down the left hand side leaving an easy tap in at the back post.
With the game at 2-2 and becoming more end to end, both teams had chances to win it and Sheffield were indebted to goalkeeper Mellar who pulled off a marvellous one on one save with five minutes remaining. Cambridge were left to rue that miss as two minutes later Millar won and subsequently converted a penalty corner, crashing the ball home. Despite a few nervy moments the home side held on to a well deserved victory and march on into the next round of the BUCS Trophy.