In the second of ‘The Big Match’ series, Loughborough Women’s 1’s Hockey team fell to their second defeat in the BUCs league losing 2-0 to fierce rivals Birmingham University on home turf.
With both sides fielding a handful of internationals this match was one of great calibre and both teams fought hard in front of a healthy crowd. Birmingham’s sleek attack showed no mercy to a scrappy Loughborough side, who struggled to test the Birmingham goal line until the final quarter.
After narrowly losing out to Durham 2-1 away from home last week, Loughborough looked to go into this match as favourites with the advantage of a large home crowd turnout, despite the earlier downpour.
As the umpires whistle started the game, the Blues immediate swift pass and movement skills provided too much for the Loughborough midfield, who were left shadowing a Birmingham attack for the majority of the first half. The lone highlight for Loughborough came in the form of Welsh U21 Sian Evans who charged across the waterbase from defence to force a Loughborough short corner, which was subsequently misplaced behind the back line.
With the game goalless, a stern half time team talk provided a much more evenly matched competition, with Loughborough making ground into Birmingham’s half on numerous occasions. Both sides were left reeling after failing to keep the ball under control in the D due to forceful defending from both teams.
The Birmingham break did eventually come, as Loughborough failed to convert a hopeful shot on goal. The surging counter attack caught an unaware Loughborough off guard leaving the maroon keeper, Charlotte Ellison, one on one with their forward in the D. A neatly placed push into the bottom left hand corner left Loughborough trailing.
Birmingham continued to press the Loughborough defence, however Kate Maxey and Giselle Ansley provided some good balls to provide Loughborough with some opportunities to build, though they were unable to capitalise.
A few controversial decisions from the umpires left Loughborough reaching for the face masks as they relentlessly defended short corner after short corner towards the end of the game.
In the dying minutes both teams looked tired and the game became scrappier in front of the goal howeverBirmingham did manage to piece together the perfect short corner which sealed Loughborough’s fate to a 2-0 defeat.
Positives for Loughborough came in the shame of goalkeeper Charlotte Ellison, her agile and brave performance throughout the game saved Loughborough from an embarrassing defeat.
As Loughborough remain bottom of the BUC’s premier north, heads turn to their next game against local team Nottingham University away at Beeston on the 2nd November.