Team: N Smith, A Armar (capt), D Gurung, G Baugh, J Cornelius, L England, L O’Connor, L Moore, A Micklethwaite, M Cox, R Powell, J Sweeney, E Lott
Having the started the season with purpose, Yateley looked to consolidate their position at the top of the table whilst playing host to New Milton. With only goal difference putting them at the top, a convincing win was required and ultimately delivered, however it did not all go their own way.
The hosts took an early lead when Lucy Moore
’s well timed cross was controlled at the far post and hammered home by Jenny Sweeney. But the lead had come too easily and New Milton made Yateley pay for their complacency with an open play equaliser.
Spurred into action, Jenny Cornelius and Louise England combined well to control the centre of the field, opening up several attacking channels. Gemma Baugh
surged through at the top of the ‘D’ firing in a shot, but the save only got as far as Alice Micklethwaite
whose lightening reactions slotted in the rebound.
Yateley maintained the pressure with attacking moves down both flanks and secured two more goals before half time. The first was built up down the left; captain, Amerley Armar
thwarting the visitors attack and dribbling out of defence to release Dina Gurung
, a quick one two and Lucy Moore
found space on the right to convert a slick reverse stick goal. The second followed on from a penalty corner; New Milton were solid in it’s defence, but the hosts were single-minded in the desire to convert and Michelle Cox
go the final touch to take the team into a 4-1 lead at half time.
The visitors came back at Yateley in the second half, beginning strongly and kept up several minutes of pressure; Nicky Smith commanded her defence and the team held firm. Armar made a crucial tackle; Baugh took the pass and surged down the centre of the field. Making eye contact with Rachel Powell
up field she drilled the ball goal ward; Powell ran to meet it and tipped the ball high over the keepers head into the top corner.
The reds spent the next ten minutes camped in the New Milton half, Laura O’Conner working hard down the left and Sweeney so close on the far post on several occasions. However, a lapse in concentration and the visitors counter attacked to close the score-line to 5-2.
Baugh responded in typical fashion, driving through the midfield, looking for the early ball forward, but waves parted and seizing the opportunity, the sweeper struck the ball from the edge of the circle to be rewarded with a resounding crack as the ball hit the backboard.
Lying just two points clear of second place Andover; Yateley need to play with a lot more control against their opposition next week if they are really going to stamp their authority on the league.