Letchworth III 1 Harpenden II 1
With two games left to play in this season's league campaign & two points needed to fend off relegation, the Ladies 3s were hoping that the recent dramatic change in temperature would bring rich reward. Still missing a few regulars including vice-captain Sue Saunders, raising money for the Garden House Hospice on a "Mud Run", they called up 13 year old Philippa Dawes from the 4th XI to make her debut at this level.
Harpenden settled into the game more quickly & had Letchworth on the back foot for much of the first quarter. However, with the introduction of Phillipa, Niamh Wase & Lorraine Northern, there was a distinct change in momentum. It was now the visitors' turn to feel the heat, in more ways than one. Letchworth pressed hard as Harpenden struggled to string passes together. Their reward came when, after a string of penetrating crosses from the right flank, yet another left the Harpenden defence outnumbered in their circle & JO PINN swept in a reverse stick shot on the far post.
As the teams turned round at the half time break, Letchworth were still ahead but the warm weather was beginning to take its toll. With another change in personnel, they were able to draw breath but with 20 minutes left to hold onto their lead, a misplaced pass put their defence under pressure. Unable track back in depth, Letchworth's midfield were pulled out of position and Harpenden took advantage of the open spaces. With little cover in front of her, GK Tracy Gateson was beaten on her near post to hand Harpenden the equaliser.
Letchworth were now in danger of losing this crucial game as they conceded a worrying number of short corners. Fortunately, they dealt with the threat with composure and then countered with some flowing hockey, led in no small way by their captain Haidee Castle. "Player of the Match" CHARLOTTE HEATON-KEEL was also instrumental in taking the fight back to Harpenden. Deborah Wren came close to winning the match but her delayed shot went inches wide. On the final whistle, Letchworth were awarded a penalty corner & then another when Harpenden fouled but the winning goal remained frustratingly elusive.
So, with a final game left to play, at home to Bodiceas tomorrow, Letchworth need just one more point to retain their place in Div 2.
Updated 22:24 - 21 Apr 2018 by Rowena Wehrmann