Defence stands firm as Garstang grab victory

Meg the merciless: Garstang goalkeeper Megan Ditchfield
Meg the merciless: Garstang goalkeeper Megan Ditchfield
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Hockey

Garstang Seconds 1

Rossall Firsts 0

After last week’s hard game against the top side Preston Seconds, Garstang were naturally concerned to be playing Rossall, the second placed team who had previously drawn with Preston and only lost once in their previous 13 games. Garstang started well with their passing moves putting early pressure on Rossall.

Garstang won their first penalty corner after eight minutes and a neat move from Helen Mather to Nicky Charter to Jess Reid ended with Jess rocketing the ball over the bar from close range – so near and yet so far! Rossall gradually came in to the game and forced a good clear by Jess in the D. Garstang pressed back and won their second PC after 15 minutes. A neat move from Helen to Nicky to Liz Nicholls ended with a beautiful goal from Liz.

Rossall upped the pressure and the Garstang defensive team of Vicky Bradley, Gemma Livsey, Jess Reid and sweeper Jemma Hampson had to dig in hard for the rest of the game clearing the ball carefully and neatly away. In particular after 20 minutes Jemma had to fight hard to clear a Rossall break away.

In goal Megan Dicthfield started to make her characteristic run and kick clears and she made a superb air save late in the half. The Rossall pressure was telling and a tired Julie Nightingale came off for a rest and was replaced by Lindsay Norton (an ex Rossall girl) on loan from the 1st. Jemmimah Dewhurst came on to replace Caroline Hampson and battle continued. Garstang made a great break and a high speed run by speed bird Nicky supported by Jemmimah came close to scoring. Rossall pressed hard but Garstang were not conceding PCs and played the half out.

Rossall came out with new purpose in the second half.

The Garstang midfield of Helen, Eileen Smith and Lindsay were working hard and it took a team effort to hold the line. Rossall won their first corner after only three minutes and Megan Ditchfield made two powerful clears before the pressure eased.

Lauran Whiteside came on to rest Liz on the left wing and it was all hands to the wall to hold Rossall back. Rossall won another corner after 10 minutes but wasted the opportunity.

After 15 minutes Megan made a great save. Rossall’s speedy adult right winger (former GB U18 player) started a prolonged series of attacks at great pace and kept cutting holes in the Garstang defence only for a last minute defender to thwart her.

When she did get through, Megan was brilliant with great kicks, dives, air and stick saves and was always beautifully positioned. Garstang brought Julie back on and then Liz in a defensive role to mark the Rossall winger.

This was a hard grafted win by a determined Garstang defence who held on. The forwards did the damage early on and then kept threatening on the break. Above all a quality Rossall side had their hearts broken by Meg the Merciless in the Garstang goal who was quite simply brilliant.