Matlock Baileans 1sts 3
Birmingham Uni 2nds 2
Matlock were host to Birmingham University in a game expected to be tightly contested.
The game started strongly for Matlock, creating lots of problems for the Birmingham defence. An early cross from Becky Bowman saw Sarah Archer’s shot cleared off the line in the first 30 seconds.
Matlock continued to dominate the half and were rewarded with several penalty corners in quick succession.
It was from one of these corners that a sharp deflection, initially saved well by the keeper, was followed up by Becky Bowman to score the opening goal. The second goal came minutes later from a similar opportunity. Again Becky Bowman was first to the rebound, slotting the ball underneath the keeper.
Birmingham stepped up their game towards the end of the half, forcing the Matlock defence and keeper Danielle Archer into making several dramatic saves and clearances from somewhat challenging situations.
Matlock perhaps should have wrapped up the game in the first half but failed to convert the chances they were creating, meaning they ended the half only two goals to the good. The second half saw a change in possession, with a more equal share of the ball between the teams.
Matlock continued to create opportunities, with player of the match Becky Bowman going close to converting her hat-trick early on.
It was Birmingham who raised their game, putting the Matlock defence under more pressure, but still failing to break through.
It was only when Matlock lost Deborah Greer to injury that the team were caught off guard, allowing Birmingham to break into the D, striking past an unsighted keeper.
Matlock then appeared to lose their composure, diving into tackles and giving away possession easily. It was from these mistakes that Birmingham earned another penalty corner, scoring to level.
With ten minutes to go, Matlock regained composure on the ball, linking together several spells of good passing, but becoming frustrated at the sight of the ball going wide or being saved.
Matlock’s penalty corner count then hit double figures and it was from this that the winning goal was scored, another rebound falling to Sarah Archer who calmly slotted the ball home. Matlock worked hard for the remainder to ensure that the win was confirmed.