North Hockey Women’s league Division Two North West
GARSTANG had a busy schedule over the weekend when they hosted Formby on Saturday and Northern on Sunday in the North West Division Two Hockey League.
Formby are sitting comfortably in the top three of the division but Garstang were not quite prepared for what they threw at them.
The Formby personnel were strong right across the park enabling strong passing and switching play throughout the match.
Garstang could not and did not match their strengths. Formby started convincingly and never looked back, Garstang on the other hand never seemed to actually engage in much basic hockey throughout the 70 mins.
In summary, Garstang could not grasp possession and short passes alluded them. In contrast, Formby dominated with precision passing, long, hard balls up front, great movement off the ball and a desire score more goals right in the dying minutes.
Any 50/50 balls, pressing and a want to win the ball vanished from Garstang’s repertoire and set the tone for the entire match.
The scoreline rested at 2-1 at half-time with Garstang’s only goal coming from a fantastic solo effort from Fran Summers who stole possession from a defender skipped past another, drew the keeper to the top of the D and took her strike early to find the backboard.
SUNDAY’S re-arranged game against Northern was without a doubt, ‘therapy’, for the heaviest loss the team has seen for a number of seasons.
Garstang played the postponed fixture at home and started brightly with Di Roe running well in attack.
But it was soon obvious that the accuracy of Garstang’s passing game was still poor.
Far too many passes went to a determined opposition who were quick to exploit the weakness putting the Red Army under some pressure.
Garstang won an early penalty corner (PC) in the first two minutes but the shot went wide.
In mid-half Garstang made some better attacks and Midge Bury shot wide at a PC.
Two minutes later in open play Wendy Howarth hit the post and the rebound went safe for Northern.
Lots of good through balls by Garstang failed to go to stick and several good attacks floundered with frustrating errors just outside the ‘D’.
Northern, unlike most other clubs seemed to be just able to contain Fran Summers and Lily Helme who was in some pain with a leg injury with few passes coming her way.
The Garstang defence were containing the Northern attacks pretty well in their own Dee.
With 28 minutes gone Midge went one on one with the Northern keeper who collided with her and Di Roe swept in to gently place the ball home only for a late and disappointing disallowance.
At the start of the second half Northern came out strongly in attack moving the ball accurately across the pitch whilst Garstang kept getting it stuck on the wings.
The ‘steady heads’ in the Garstang defence, Nicky Oddie, Lindsay Norton (capt), and Donna Richardson held their own and Sarah Skelton (SJ) in goal was not as busy as before.
Some quality work by Lyndsey Hayes (Cookie), Jude Chapman and later Josie Rice swung the balance of play back to Garstang – but only just.
With 15 minutes to go Garstang won a PC and Lindsay Norton’s shot was neatly deflected into goal by Wendy Howarth who deserved the reward for all her spirited runs in attack.
With seven minutes to go Midge made a good break but shot wide of the Northern goal. With five minutes to go Garstang won another PC and Midge’s mighty cannon smashed the ball home from the top of the Dee to make amends; 2 - 0.
A few minutes later in the twilight of the game Northern won a PC and managed to work the ball round SJ’s left side leaving the ball to trickle home after a diving save attempt.