Headington Ladies – 1
Buckingham Athletic Ladies – 6
Buckingham Athletic Ladies got their new season off to a flier with a healthy win at Headington on Sunday afternoon, and settled any early nerves to ease into their new surroundings in the Thames Valley Counties Women’s Football League Division One after promotion last season. Athletic gave seven new summer signings their debuts during a game played in warm sunshine, and despite some early resistance from their hosts two late first half goals put the visitors into a commanding position at the break before adding a further couple in the second period to confirm their dominance.
Headington went close early on finding the side netting from out wide, and from the goal kick Jordan Heron was sent sprinting away down the right flank where she drove at goal, with Evie Hawkins in the middle Heron opted to shoot low for the near post where home keeper Sarah Hillier gathered comfortably. The winger then saw another shot straight at Hillier spilled, but before anyone could react the shot stopper thumped to safety.
Captain Kerry Stapleton then burst forward from midfield and from distance went for goal only for her shot to bounce back off the post, for a split second the home custodian lost track of the ball but as Hawkins raced in she managed to smoother. A Buckingham attack broke down on the half way line and a simple ball over the backline saw Andreea Dumitru break free, she fed Caroline Plitt to the right of goal but she blazed high over the bar.
The visitors took the lead on thirteen minutes when an attempted pass from Stapleton hit her own player but fell nicely for Heron to collect and bear down on goal before firing into the bottom corner. As Headington tried to get back in the game they won a free kick some thirty yards from goal, Cecile Deer took responsibility but could only steer wide of Ellen Fenables’ right hand post.
A brief drinks break was allowed by the official, from the off a poor goal kick found Gemma Ball some twenty-five yards out who went to shoot but a defender blocked, the loose ball falling to Heron whose attempt had to be turned round the post for a corner. Then on twenty-six minutes Athletic doubled their lead when a free kick from Emma Marshall sailed over everyone in the box only to crash back down off the bar, first to react was Ball who slotted home.
Before Athletic could relax on their lead, their hosts pulled a goal back within three minutes when a ball through the middle saw Dumitru accelerate away from her marker, Fenables made a challenge but the ball rolled wide where the striker flashed across goal and into the unguarded net. Heron was causing havoc every time she attacked the right wing, another burst of pace saw her in on goal and her fierce drive smashed away off the goal stantion.
Hawkins continued to cause the home defence headaches in the middle, one pass saw her inside their box and evading two challenges her effort was somehow sliced away for a corner, from the cleared set piece Ball fired through a crowded box but Hillier was behind it all the way. Despite some brave defending Headington were undone by two goals in the final eight minutes of the half, which seemed to kill off their resistance.
The first started by Hawkins collecting a loose ball in midfield found Ball in space, she looked up and just as it seemed she was going to pass elsewhere she slipped a delightful pass through the defence for Hawkins to run on and score. There were further chances for Alex Miller who wanted too much time when set up in front of goal, and Hawkins again who didn’t connect well, but finally a ball over the top saw Hawkins connect and fire into the top corner as the half-time whistle sounded. H/T: 1-4
Deer saw an early effort loop up off a Buckingham defender and hang nicely in the air for Fenables to collect, but any thoughts of a comeback was killed off on fifty-two minutes when Heron was sent down the right channel shoulder to shoulder with her marker, she simply over powered the defender and from a tight angle fizzed the ball low inside the near post.
Dumitru screwed wide from the edge of the box, ahead of a two minute delay that halted the game when Dani Roberts had to be helped off the field through injury. Athletic continued to look for more goals, Stapleton had a run from defence before firing straight at Hillier, as did Nicole Britten from the corner of the eighteen yard box. There were a couple of chances for the home side but they struggled to break through the stubborn blue line and were restricted to long range efforts.
The sixth goal came on seventy minutes when Stapleton fed the ball through for Courtney Crawley to latch onto and chip over the advanced goalkeeper and in. Hawkins then forced the keeper into a two-handed save which the striker retrieved and squared to Miller who fired over when in front of goal.
The hosts had a late chance when Plitt set up Dumitru who drove over the bar, which was followed by the pass of the game from the very impressive Gemma Ball that split the Headington central defence and set Hawkins away on goal, her shot taking a slight deflection before rolling through to safety. F/T: 1-6
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