Loughborough Start their BUCS Campaign with a Win
Loughborough’s Women’s 1st hockey team beat Nottingham 3-1 on Wednesday in their first match of the BUCS Premier North. Injured midfielder Katie Shanahan reports for Label Sport.
The Loughborough Ladies made a flying start with their first game of the BUCS season against Nottingham. After a good win at the weekend against Kendal, Loughborough were ready to keep up their momentum in the Wednesday fixtures.
Loughborough’s hunger for a win was shown in the first couple of minutes, when they managed to get a short corner after a swift attack, which led to a high reverse shot that actually struck the umpire. This certainly did not shake Nottingham, as they were soon counter-attacking, managing to get a quick shot away which was confidently cleared by Loughborough goalie Laura Myers.
The exciting start soon calmed down and the possession was largely even for the next couple of minutes. But suddenly, exploiting a weak spot in Nottingham’s high press, Loughborough attacked aggressively with Jo-Jo Blunt dribbling across the top of the D and passing it through to win a short corner. Strong core skills from the penalty corner team allowed Maddie Newlyn to get a straight strike for Loughborough to make the score 1-0.
The next couple of minutes were worrying for Loughborough as Nottingham turned on the pace and looked dangerous. Myers and her defence had to make several diving saves and Ella Picton had to remain very composed to take on players and escape the Loughborough D with confidence. This allowed Kirsty Hoskins to deliver a beautiful ball straight to the forwards, which soon led to a pass straight across goal to Hannah Pike, who managed to win a long corner after much bustling.
Nottingham’s centre midfielder Abi Krone showed her skill, taking on a few of the Loughborough girls and delivering an unstoppable pass upfront. With fire in her belly, Ellie Tait pressurised the Nottingham defence and managed to win the ball, turn sharply and drive forward with some lovely first-time passes with her sister Maddie Tait. This then gave her the perfect position for a clear drive and a reverse stick shot straight into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
The second half was filled with excitement and a lot of counter-attacking from both sides. However, this time Nottingham had the stronger start, winning a short corner within the first couple of minutes. Luckily, Myers met the straight strike with a solid block save, allowing Charlotte Chamberlain to clear immediately.
This galvanised Loughborough and enabled captain Maddie Tait to reshape her side and gather the flow back quickly. Despite some impressive one-touch passing from the girls, Nottingham succeeded in breaking this flow with some skilful play enabling them to win another short corner. This was cleared once again and delivered to Ellie Tait from Emily Burgwin. This allowed Loughborough to very quickly win a short corner, which flew past the right hand post giving Nottingham a free hit.
From this point forward, both teams were battling for the ball, constantly counter-attacking each end of the pitch, but the Loughborough girls regularly managed to show their dominance by retaining possession. Burgwin seized this opportunity and pushed forward to deliver a long ball down the line to Lauren Anning, who moved it across to Hannah Pike, who was waiting on the post to put it into the back of the net, making it 3-0 to Loughborough.
This only made Nottingham even more determined and they started to test Loughborough by putting more and more pressure on them. A card was soon given to Kate Reynolds for a stick tackle. The visitors took advantage of this and suddenly broke Loughborough’s dominance, looking more threatening in attack and finding a hunger for a last minute goal in the D.
A short corner was awarded and Nottingham scored with a far post deflection. They may have ended the game with the majority of the attacking possession, but they had run out of time. Loughborough had remained strong and composed to start the season on a high with a 3-1 victory.