Northampton 2nds 1
Matlock Baileans 2nds 1
Matlock travelled to Northampton to play the side at the top of the league without three of their regular players, including their top scorer: not the best preparation.
Matlock immediately found it difficult to cope with the pace of Northampton’s game.
Not retreating sufficiently from Northampton’s quickly taken free hits resulted in two yellow cards for Matlock’s players, which at one point left them with only nine on the pitch.
However, Matlock dug in and looked like they were going to hold on until half-time before late reactions from the defence allowed too much time to the Northampton attacker to pick her shot following the breakdown of a penalty corner.
It had taken a whole half, but after the break Matlock started to settle as a team.
Maz Cowie was given the task of man-to-man marking of Northampton’s key player and slowly the tide of the game started to turn.
Northampton started to run out of ideas and it was Matlock’s turn to place the Northampton defence under pressure.
From a sideline ball on the left, Charlotte Horton spotted a gap to Jill Beacham in the middle of the pitch.
Jill hit a 40-yard pass at pace to pick up Frankie Price’s crossfield run into the circle.
The defender got their first, but didn’t control the ball, allowing Frankie to nip in, round the diving keeper (now entangled with her own player), and walk the ball into the net.
A just reward for Frankie who had worked tirelessly all afternoon on her own upfront and went on to win the man of the match vote.
The draw sees Matlock sitting nicely in third in the league and drops a less than happy Northampton to second.
Matlock play Newark the new team at the top next week – should be interesting.