Buckingham Athletic Ladies – 1
Banbury United Ladies – 1
This gruelling battle ended with both sides sharing a point apiece and both sides leaving the field knowing they had missed chances to take all three, but the latest instalment of Buckingham Athletic Ladies v Banbury United Ladies saw one hundred and eight minutes of play fail to separate these old adversaries as injuries, substitutions and ball out of play all disrupted & delayed the game on a bitterly cold afternoon at Stratford Fields. Goal scoring chances were at a premium at either end, as both midfields and defences battled it out determined not to lose a tackle, not to give the ball away and definitely not to concede an inch of possession to their opponents, the hosts took the lead very early on from the penalty spot, the visitors equalised early after the break although it did take the head of a Buckingham player to draw them level.
Athletic took the lead in the fourth minute, Jade Copas out on the wing crossed into the area where two United defenders failed to clear allowing the ball to find Sam Jolley and as she shaped to shoot a challenge came in from her left which bowled her over and the referee pointed to the spot, despite the protests Gemma Ball calmly slotted home. It then took another fourteen minutes before the next worthy effort on goal, the visitors winning the ball in midfield and knocking it out left to Abi Smith who drove into the box but fired over the top, stand in keeper Courtney Davey-Ward who replaced the injured regular Ellen Fenables for the day was then in the thick of the action when a ball over the blue backline saw Josie Clarke clear on goal but Davey-Ward bravely dived at her feet to block with a defender on hand to clear.
A Banbury counter attack then saw Yazmin Holmes find space down the flank and her cross along the eighteen yard line resulted in Deborah Andrews having a fierce shot charged down before it threatened the Buckingham goal, at the opposite end Jordan Heron escaped the attention of her marker to the right of the box but her shot lacked conviction allowing Anna Crane to comfortably fall away to her left to gather. Heron was soon in behind again using her pace to accelerate from her defender, but Crane came flying off her line to meet her right on the edge of the box & sliding in made a fantastic save to deny, skipper Kerry Stapleton then curled one straight at the United custodian, and the last action saw Heron away again down the flank but her cross aimed for Evie Hawkins was read brilliantly by a defender who got to the near post to clear for a corner. H/T: 1-0
Just six minutes into the second half Banbury got their equaliser when a cross from the right was met at the front post by three bodies and unfortunately for Dani Roberts her head got there first to divert into the top corner. United piled on the pressure looking for a winner, but could not find a way through a resolute Buckingham defence and were almost made to pay when Alex Miller sent Hawkins away down the left where from the corner of the box she flashed her shot across goal and two to three yards wide of the far upright, moments later she repeated the feat again this time from a far more acute angle but again with the same result.
Banbury then missed a guilt edged chance to take the lead when a ball downfield went through to Davey-Ward but her clearance went straight to Rochelle Buick and just as it seemed she would simply roll the ball into the empty net it squeezed under her boot as she trod on it and the chance was gone, she did square to Andrews but she lashed wildly wide from the angle. A ball over the red defence saw Hawkins in on goal but Crane was out to meet her, the pair collided which left the keeper needing some lengthy treatment before she could resume, and with ten minutes of the game remaining came the chance the hosts thought would put them back into the lead.
Another ball over the top for Hawkins to chase after saw both United keeper and a defender go to clear but instead collide leaving them both flat out, Hawkins collected the loose ball and adjacent to one post and the whole goal wide open she rolled the ball across the face and wide of the furthest upright, much to the disbelief of everyone inside the ground. From there both sides seemed to concede that the game would end in a draw, the closest either side came was a twenty-five yard free kick that Stapleton fired wide of goal. F/T: 1-1
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