Hockey: Marlborough ladies' four-nil victory takes them to second in league table
After last week's resounding victory over Wimborne which saw the team rise to third in the league, Marlborough were positive from the off, applying pressure to Bath Buccs’ push back and turning the ball over before they could gain purchase on the game.
From then on, Marlborough created a sustained period of pressure on the Buccs’ defence, moving the ball with increasing confidence and making probing runs into the D.
A driving run from Vanessa Pickford-Smith down the right opened up a channel into the D through which she threaded a well weighted pass to Catherine Manley who was able to slot the ball past the keeper.
As play restarted, Marlborough maintained their drive to move the ball forwards with the defensive line of Anna Scott, Torie Williams, Annabel Ashley and Beth Palfrey mopping up any attempts from Bath to push towards their goal and transferring the ball away from trouble towards the midfield.
A string of passes from Sophie Fynn and Rachel Cox provided Catherine Manley with another opportunity to score which she did with a neat and controlled spin to front up the keeper and ease the ball past into goal.
Penny Bowen, Rachel Cox and Vanessa Pickford-Smith continued to hound Buccs’ midfield whenever they gained possession, making them step up their accuracy and supportive runs in order to work the ball through their attacking half. As well as tracking back tirelessly when Marlborough lost possession, the forward line of Anna Strover, Milly Dawson and Catherine Manley were working hard with their forward runs, drawing the defence and creating space for the midfield to drive into.
Vanessa Pickford-Smith, who was putting in some serious leg work to close down any Bath player within her vicinity, began to make some excellent drives into the D, firing off a number of shots before one finally crossed the line for a goal.
Despite going into half time 3-0 ahead Marlborough still had areas of their game to work on. With renewed focus Marlborough picked up the attack once more and continued to dominate the game despite Bath moving the ball well between their players and making some dangerous attacking play towards and around the goal.
The defensive back line, now including Emily Carter-Davies, was transferring the ball confidently around the back and picking some great forward balls. During the middle of the second half, play moved rapidly up and down the pitch as both teams attempted to break the deadlock once more.
Marlborough won three short corners over the following few minutes finally converting the third with a clean strike from Sophie Fynn. Minutes later, a great save from Vicky Moxham ensured a clean sheet was kept and Marlborough were able to walk off the pitch with three points secured.
The 4-0 victory has seen the team rise to second in the league and ensure that Marlborough continued to put themselves in contention for a top two finish as the season draws towards its climax.
Marlborough News Online player of the match was deservedly awarded to Anna Strover whose work rate both on and off the ball was terrific.