Buckingham 4 Canterbury 2
Buckingham Earn Valuable Three Points
Buckingham 4 Canterbury 2
At home for the first time this season, Buckingham started brightly with Phoebe Richards twice going close in the opening minutes, as game started at break neck speed. Having had the better of the opening exchanges, the home side deservedly took the lead after England U18 Alice Rolfe, on her Premier League debut, earned Buckingham their second penalty corner. A well rehearsed routine saw Tash James deflect the ball into the roof of the net for a 1-0 lead, after ten minutes of play. Hannah Cozens came close to extending the lead five minutes later but her effort was cleared off the line.
Shortly afterwards, a raking long ball from player of the match Katrina Nicholson and some fine play by Abbie Brant and Rolfe resulted in another penalty corner. This time Co captain Zoe Shipperley smashed the ball home, to double the lead with twenty minutes played. The visitors remained a constant threat and Buckingham were fortunate not to concede from a quick counter after temporarily being reduced to ten players. With three minutes remaining in the half, James came close to extending the lead further but from the very next phase, another well worked penalty corner routine saw Co Captain Kitty Higgins deflect the ball high into the net to give the home side a 3-0 lead at the break.
Buckingham started the second period poorly with Higgins clearing off the line from a penalty corner in the opening minute. Buckingham then had to withstand a period of pressure which they did reasonably well, although the visitors were denied by the outside of the post during that time. Having weathered the storm, Buckingham began to find their rhythm again but the accuracy of the final pass kept eluding them. With fifty-four minutes gone, James came close to making it 4-0 but was again denied by a smart stop. However, Buckingham were 4-0 up just two minutes later. Some good passing, interplay and perseverance found Welsh international Emily Rowlands in the D and she fired the ball low into the bottom corner, for her first goal in Buckingham colours. Phoebe Richards brought another smart stop from the visiting goal keeper just minutes later as Buckingham looked to extend their lead further. Yet, it was the visitors who pulled a goal back with a straight hit at a penalty corner with seven minutes to go. But Buckingham responded immediately as Lottie Porter smashed a chance over the bar just moments later. The home side lost a bit of composure when Nicholson was harshly sin binned with four minutes remaining and Canterbury scored another consolation before the final whistle. However, this could not take the gloss off what was a pretty good performance overall and an important three points, that gets this seasons campaign up and running.
"I was really pleased with many aspects of our play and some of the improvements we made from last week. Although our defence was not perfect, it was far better than a week ago and once again, we played some very good hockey with the ball. We still need to improve some of our accuracy and execution on counter attack and in the final third as we definitely still left a few chances out there. However, that is a positive sign in itself - that we are creating chances and still feel we have a fair bit of improving to do. Hopefully, this results gives us the belief in ourselves and the way we are trying to play. But, we wont get carried away - it is just one result and we are only two games into the season so there is a long way to go. We are looking forward to another home game on Saturday and the big challenge of facing last years runners up Holcombe."