Banbury United Ladies – 1
Buckingham Athletic Ladies – 5
Buckingham Athletic Ladies put in a stunning second half performance on Sunday at the Banbury Skip Hire Community Stadium to go joint top of the Thames Valley Counties Women’s Football League Division Two North table. A fairly even first half saw both sides squander chances, with Banbury nicking a late opener to go into the interval with a slender lead, but after the half-time oranges were consumed Athletic squeezed in five second half goals including a hat-trick from Evie Hawkins to leave their hosts stunned.
Banbury were testing the visitor’s back line from the start, and a shot from Deborah Andrews from close range was relatively comfortable for Ellen Fenables to collect in the Athletic goal. Jordan Heron then had a good run down the right and as she got inside the area tried to cross to team mates in the middle but United keeper Katie McLean was confident enough to come out and dive on the ball.
Evie Hawkins took the ball off a Banbury defender just outside the penalty area and went for goal, and again McLean made the save using her feet to block. The home side then almost took the lead on ten minutes when Jen Hoggins retrieved a ball out on the left of the box and turning her marker chipped for goal only to watch as the ball came back off the crossbar and was cleared.
Josie Clark then fired just wide of Fenables post from eighteen yards out, and further promising United attacks were denied by Hawkins and Jade Copas but Yazmin Holmes followed up with a low drive that Fenables got down well to smoother. Ten minutes before the break Hawkins squared to Kerry Stapleton who did well to work herself some space before firing straight at McLean.
A Buckingham throw then saw Hawkins try and square to a colleague waiting at the back post but a brilliant covering block from Banbury defender Caitlin Timms deflected for a corner. Four minutes before the break Banbury opened the scoring, a throw on their right found Andrews on the edge of the box, from almost on the byline she looped a shot up and over the head of Fenables and the ball dropped in the bottom corner.
Kayleigh Harwood then fired just wide of McLeans right hand post from twenty yards out, Kerry Stapleton had a decent run down the right from the half way line, evading numerous challenges and getting into the box before firing across the goal mouth but with no one anywhere near, the ball rolled harmlessly out for a goal kick, and on the stroke of half-time Banbury’s Lynsey Burdock fired straight at Fenables. H/T: 1-0
The Athletic Ladies came out for the second half and signalled their intent from the off, regaining possession in their own half and sending the ball long over the United defence for Evie Hawkins to run on to and shoot and only a brilliant save from McLean diving away to her right denied the visitor’s their equaliser.
Two minutes later however the game was levelled, and again pressure from the visitor’s caught the home defence on the hop. A defender lost the ball out on the left, it was worked in behind to Hawkins again who skipped the dive of McLean to cut back across goal and the loose ball was turned home by Sam Jolley.
Two minutes later Hawkins was again denied by a brilliant stop by the boot of McLean and a follow up curling shot from Isabelle Clamp came back off the crossbar and at this stage Athletic were sensing more goals. Kerry Stapleton swung in a free kick which was half-cleared to the edge of the box where Jolley fired at goal where a deflection steered it wide for a corner.
Buckingham took the lead on fifty-five minutes, again Hawkins was set away behind the Banbury defence and as McLean came out to dive at her feet she dinked the ball over the keeper and into the bottom corner. Hawkins followed her goal up with two more efforts when fed in behind, the first where she never really connected with the ball and it was comfortable for McLean to gather, and the second she shrugged off to markers to fire at goal only for the Banbury keeper to pull off another fine save.
Another chance for Hawkins was fired wide before a Banbury break from an Athletic corner that broke down saw Yazmin Holmes fed in down their left and her shot flashed across goal and away for a goal kick, and a minute later another chance for Holmes saw her fire wide of the other post.
The away side extended their lead on seventy-three minutes when Jade Heron drove down the right wing and crossed into the box, Hawkins missed the cross but running in behind Harwood struck the ball perfectly tucking inside the post.
Harwood then forced McLean into another save following a shot from a long clearance that bounced over the home back line, but with twelve minutes left Athletic got their fourth goal when a Hawkins header was screwed back across goal by a United defender back to the Buckingham forward who smashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar and in.
Jordan Heron then cut in from the left and fired at goal and with McLean at full stretch the ball flew inches wide of the near post. A minute before the end Evie Hawkins completed her treble when Emma Marshall knocked a ball deep into the United half, a defender allowed the ball to bounce which sent it over her head for Hawkins to race onto and fire home. F/T: 1-5
After the game Sports Shots caught up with Kerry Stapleton & Evie Hawkins
Match highlights courtesy of Banbury United FC
For match photo’s click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm4Dkh7q