LTHC Ladies 1st XI 1 vs Clifton Robinsons Ladies 3rd XI 1

Penalty Flicks: LTHC win 3-2

England Hockey Investec Women’s Tier 2 Championships

Sunday 17th March 2019

After unprecedented success in the England Hockey Championships (Tier 2), on Sunday 17th March, Loughborough Town Ladies 1st XI welcomed Bristol side Clifton Robinsons 3rd XI for a late afternoon pushback in the quarter final of the competition. 

Having not previously met in competitions before, the opening five minutes of the game were a cagey affair as both sides tried to get the measure of their opposition. Boasting a youthful side, it was Clifton who enjoyed the early play. Some great skills from their midfield players calling Town’s centre backs Izzie Limb and Gabrielle Morgan into action. 

Cheered on by a fantastic crowd of supporters, Town soon picked up their game to match. Katherine Laws made some impressive runs down the left wing and forwards Georgina Godfrey, Emily Hill and Alex Hardy enjoyed more of the ball but were unable to convert the early chances of the game. 

Clifton pushed back and some skillful play saw them exploit space on the left wing and find their way into the Town circle. A controversial lifted ball across the circle from the baseline was deemed acceptable by the umpires and with keeper Harriet Galpin beaten, a last ditch attempt by Shana Featonby to keep out Clifton’s volley towards goal saw the ball hit her foot on the line. Despite their arguments, Town could only watch on as the resulting penalty flick was slipped past Galpin to give Clifton the lead.

However, going behind in such a controversial manner was the catalyst to Town settling back into their game and driving onwards for the equaliser. With just 10 minutes remaining in the half, Town dominated play and pressed Clifton into their own half. Town’s pressure was nearly rewarded as a short corner routine bounced agonisingly off the Clifton crossbar. However the home side were not disheartened and finally just two minutes until half time, a fantastic team move saw Alex Hardy smash the ball home off the reverse stick to drag the game level. 

With their confidence at a high, it was Town who were on top from the first whistle of the second half. Midfielders Katie McKinlay and Lucy Walden worked tirelessly to rob the ball off the Clifton defence and Hannah McCleery came close to pulling Town in front, with her effort seen safely away by the Clifton keeper. 

Clifton largely set about defending with the hope of winning the game in penalty flicks but a fast counter attack saw Harriet Galpin called into action once more to maintain the deadlock at 1-1. 

Rebe Casselden impressed again at half-back and in the dying seconds of the game Town were awarded a penalty corner – a goal now would seal the victory without the need for flicks. A fast drag out from Featonby saw Georgina Godfrey with the ball at her feet at the top of the circle. However a do-or-die run from the Clifton defenders saw the ball ricochet safely off the back line to see the game tied at 1-1. 

Penalty Flicks

Over recent years, Town have somewhat mirrored the penalty shootout success of the England football team but confidence was high and the ladies strived to replicate the scenes at the world cup in Russia with a historic victory.

With Clifton choosing to flick first, Galpin took up her position in the goal and pulled off an incredible save to strike a blow to Clifton’s confidence.

First up for Town, Emma Weir made no mistake at sending the ball high into the net to take the score to 1-0.

Town players and supporters alike looked on amazed as Galpin saved Clifton’s second attempt with an outstretched stick. 

Next up for Town, Emily Hill took the score to 2-0 as her slipped right effort looked as if it would break the backboard. 

Galpin was then finally beaten by a calm effort from a young Clifton player,  the score now 2-1.

Ashleigh Godfrey was next to take to the mark and saw her attempt saved with a fantastic stop by the opposition goalkeeper.

Clifton then stepped up to the mark and scored again, taking the score to 2-2. 

Second from last, Georgina Godfrey also saw her attempt saved and suddenly the pressure looked to be on Town. 

Heroine of the afternoon and player of the match Galpin gave Town a lifeline with yet another spectacular save. 

With just one flick left, Town’s hopes now rested on the shoulders of Emily Burgwin. Stepping up to the mark, Burgwin momentarily paused before smashing the ball home low to the keeper’s left with absolutely no sign of the pressure she was under. Burgwin barely had time to turn before she was mobbed by her jubilant teammates, with equally ecstatic celebrations coming from the record-attendance crowd.

Town rode out as 3-2 winners on penalty flicks and advance to the semi-finals of the national competition. This will be a local derby against Loughborough Students 2nd XI on Sunday 31st March. 

Ladies 1st XI - 17/03/19: Vs  Clifton Robinsons 3rd XI, EH Cup

L-R: Matt Parry (coach), Gabrielle Morgan, Emily Hill, Hannah McCleery, Izzie Limb, Georgina Godfrey, Katie McKinlay, Alex Hardy, Katherine Laws, Emily Burgwin, Lucy Walden, Rebe Casselden, Emma Weir, Harriet Galpin, Shana Featonby (captain)

Categories: Match Reports