Squad strength tested to the full
By David Brett
Defence holds firm as resilience is tested
Another cold wet Saturday saw the team travel to Atherstone as the squad was depleted through sickness and availability to the bare 11 needing the girls to pull together as one. With no chance of a rest this week performance had to be measured to stay the distance and with a re-jigged defence and Dalby sisters re-united once more Sils started in a confident mood. Atherstone have a simple ploy of sending forwards high and attempting to catch teams o the counter although to do this you need fast attackers and also possession of the ball which is not a given.
The midfield was industrious as ever with the opposition given little time on the ball as white shirts were darting around and setting up chances to the eager front runners who were plying their trade admirably. With Frankie leading the line it was left to Priya and Louisa to harry the larger defenders from start to finish allowing them little time to compose themselves for big hits out of defence any misplaced balls were jumped on by the waiting midfield as balls were quickly passed into space to take the threat tot h opposition. Sils were creating chances and gaining few short corners an starting to exert their dominance and by midway through the half EJ who had by now settled into her new role as a defender was on hand to dispatch a short corner wide of the keeper for the lead. Sils were playing some excellent hockey at this stage with the team helping each other out and looking for passes with Izzy excelling in her midfield role. Lauren was taking the Captains role to heart in the absence of Tam and was leading by example throughout leaving Atherstone chasing shadows.
Atherstone were still a threat and there counter attacks were causing problems and with the defence was outpaced Jo was on hand to force the ball away but the attacks on the opposition were still mounting and as Priya latched onto a through ball rolled the keeper and looked set for her debut goal she was unceremoniously flattened by the keeper with Frankie smashing the flick home with ease.
Atherstone weren’t out of it yet and launched a series of attacks prior to half time and on of their breakaways over powered the defence and they manged to pull one back followed by a succession of short corners right on half time which were successfully repelled by the defence.
The second half changes somewhat with Atherstone pushing more attackers upfront testing the defence throughout but Emma Fell was working overtime closing any gaps and if anyone breached the flanks Jo swept up behind. Legs were tiring but Priya and Louisa were still running the channels often just closing space down but the girsl are improving week on week. The midfield were still full of endless energy and Annabel was giving the opposition little rest as the game went on linking well with Frankie as the defence were given some respite. There were anxious moments as Atherstone kept probing but eventually Sils saw the game out for a much deserved win.