Hockey round-up: Ladies fight back for superb win

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MILTON Keynes Hockey Club’s ladies are still on course for the league title after securing a good 3-2 win over Maidenhead, keeping them behind leaders Reading only on goal difference.

Having enjoyed two superb wins the previous weekend – including reaching the quarter finals of the England Hockey Vase – MK were able to keep up the pressure on Reading, but they were made to work very hard for the victory after having to fight back from two goals down.

It was Maidenhead who opened the scoring in the first half, taking advantage of a momentary lapse in concentration from the hosts. However, MK responded well and began to play the sort of hockey that has seem them reach second place in the table – Laura Browne and Charlotte Batty playing pivotal roles in the centre of midfield as Dee Davis and player of the match Sarah Lowry remained solid in defence, allowing MK to build from the back.

Some strong runs from Karmel Bracken and Chrissy Little saw MK go close to scoring on a number of occasions in the final stages of the first half, only for the Maidenhead keeper to deny them an equaliser with a string of excellent saves.

Just as in the first half, the second didn’t begin as MK would have liked, with Maidenhead scoring from a penalty corner to extend their lead.

Play switched from end-to-end for much of the second half, but with MK slowly beginning to keep more and more possession, it was in the last 15 minutes that the hosts began their comeback.

Building the attack down the left hand side of the pitch through some excellent passing hockey from Little, Brown and Kate Cash, the ball ended up with Little who fed it to leading scorer Sophie Reynolds who was able to deflect a shot past the Maidenhead keeper for 2-1.

With the momentum now firmly with the home side, MK stepped up their attack and some great individual play from Gemma Meredith led to her playing another good ball across the face of goal to the waiting Reynolds to slot home again.

Having being held to a draw in the away fixture with Maidenhead earlier in the season, MK were adamant that this game wasn’t going to end up the same way, and with a couple of minutes left on the clock MK won a penalty corner – Sarah Lowry firing home to complete the turnaround.

The ladies’ 2nds were held to a 1-1 draw at bottom of the table Sonning, and were forced to come from behind after the home team opened the scoring with a controversial goal with the aid of a foot.

Angered by that, MK returned for the second half determined to get back into the game, and won a flurry of short corners in their attempt to do that – eventually Jane Gibbs managed to turn the ball home and MK were back on level terms.

The ladies’ 3rds went down 3-0 to Wycombe, while the men’s 1sts enjoyed a 2-0 home victory over Oxford University, with both goals coming from Jamie Dodd.

The men’s 2nds returned to their best form after defeat at the hands of Maidenhead a week earlier as they thrashed Bicester 4-1.

Although out of the running for promotion, the team were determined to return to winning ways, and did just that thanks to some clinical finishing in front of goal.

Mike Anderson got the ball rolling for MK with a penalty flick goal before Doug Spencer made it 2-0 just before the break.

Bicester got back into the game via a penalty flick of their own, and MK keeper Tom Fung was forced into some fine stops to keep them from drawling level.

MK had squandered a 2-0 lead when the sides met earlier in the season, but there was none of that this time as goals from Dave Breuilly and Toby King made the win safe for MK.

The men’s 3rds were beaten 3-2 by Phoenix & Ranelagh – both goals from Neil Hutchins – while the 4ths beat Aylesbury 2-0.