Heartbreak at the death
By David Brett
Sils pressure leads to nothing as victory snatched away
Local neighbours Hampton were this weeks visitors, always a tough game but the team were hoping to take the demolition of Stratford into the fray. As usual it was raining and the squad was once again stretched with a few lost to sickness during the week but the game started at a fast pace with Hampton being pegged back by the onslaught based on a strong back line and the midfield holding shape countering any break aways coming out of the pressed Stratford 25. Chances were being created and for once Hampton were not able to threaten the flanks in quick breakaways nullifying their game plan from the off.
With Frankie back short corners were once again a potent threat and strikes were coming in hard and fast with the forwards picking up on any scraps they could find constantly working the Hampton keeper. Ruth was enjoying acres of space down the right and the fleet footed Anabel was finding the same on the left with Izzy having space and time to feed however was free with Hampton restricted to sporadic attacks which were competently dealt with by the solid defence. With EJ anchoring the defence Jess was enjoying some semblance of space and latching onto a loose ball raced into the D and unleashed a scorched which slammed into the back of the net for a deserved opener. Hampton kept changing the tactics around but could not make any serious inroads and were restricted to short corners that were dealt with admirably usually resulting in another Sils attack as the ball was hit free.
The first half was a pleasure to watch as the girls played the best hockey of the season so far, were in total command and never really looked in trouble. Whether half-time came at the wrong moment but who knows for some reason the impetus of the first half wasn’t quite there and it seemed as though Sils had eased off slightly and Hampton were starting to come more into the game with the Sils defence having to work just that much harder.
However, chances were being created although just not being turned into goals which would have been a most needy safety barrier but short corners were created and the defence and keeper being made to work hard to keep the ball out. The Hampton defence were still the busier of the two and their defenders now were starting to use everything they could to keep the Sils forwards at bay some fair challenges and others well maybe a little on the excessive as the slight forwards were unceremoniously barged off the ball by there larger opponents.
Everything was progressing well in a tense affair and with the clock ticking down all was on course for an emphatic victory but……… in the blink of an eye everything changed. Tammy was carded for a mis-demeaner the Hampton back line seized the opportunity and a slight hesitation in the midfield allowed them to progress far more than they should have. With the defence over loaded for the only time in the match somehow the ball was swept across the D to 2 unmarked opposition players waiting to smash the ball home for the most unlikely of equalisers. With Sils in disbelief and disarray Hampton seized the initiative and within minutes had somehow carved a further goal out of nothing with the ball squeezed through to an attacker which Jo raced out to push wide with the shot agonisingly squeezing in at the far post unopposed. Heads were down, game lost, whistle blew and the team were left to reflect on what should have been after all that possession and dominance. But lessons have to be learnt, concentration levels have to remain high, and ownership has to be taken but on reflection looking at how far this team has come and gelled together no team in this league is a threat anymore and they can confidently stand shoulder to shoulder with the best after displays like this.