MILTON Keynes Hockey Club may still be playing away from their Woughton-on-the Green home due to ongoing safety concerns, but that doesn’t seem to bother the ladies who booked their place in the third round of the Hockey Vase on Sunday.
They saw off the challenge of Nuneaton with a superb 3-2 victory, but only after falling to their first league defeat of the season, 3-0 to Bracknell the previous day – with both games played at the club’s temporary home ground of Tattenhoe.
Despite not them being able to produce their normal level of performance against Nuneaton, Milton Keynes were determined to get a win and progress to the next round.
And they started strongly with an interception from the second pass of the match, setting up a potential goal scoring opportunity, however it was the visitors who found the net first, leaving MK a goal down in the early stages of the game for the second time in two days.
But this time MK were not going to be beaten, and pushed forward looking for an equaliser with Laura Browne, Charlotte Batty and Chrissy Little linking up nicely in midfield, creating chances for Kate Cash and Lou Reynolds up front to go close on a number of occasions.
Some excellent saves from goalkeeper Laura Pellington-Woodrow and committed defending from Steph Bates, Sarah Lowry and Issy Morgan kept the score at 1-0 as Nuneaton enjoyed their own period of pressure.
Half time came and the score remained at 1-0, but MK were determined to get an equaliser and it was only a couple of minutes into the second half that they got it – captain Sophie Reynolds rounding the Nuneaton keeper to slot home.
But after drawling level MK then seemed to sit back and following a bit of a goal line scramble, a penalty flick was awarded and it took an excellent save from Pellington-Woodrow to deny Nuneaton from re-taking the lead. However, it wasn’t long until they did get another goal and suddenly MK were up against it again.
They soon drew level again though when, after some good work in the D by Lou Reynolds, Sophie Reynolds flicked home to make it 2-2.
The home side then stepped up the pressure on the Nuneaton defence, giving them little time on the ball and working hard to keep the play in their defensive D. And it was this pressure that enabled Reynolds to score her third of the game, a reverse stick strike that ended up lobbing the Nuneaton goalkeeper and finding the goal with only 10 minutes remaining.
Nuneaton fought for the equaliser, however MK weren’t giving this one up, and some great defending by Browne and Becky Goad gave the Nuneaton attack no options as the home side held on for a 3-2 victory.
Elsewhere there was a superb 10-0 victory for the ladies’ 2nd team against Oxford after drawing their last two games. Their goals came from Pip Thorne (2), Rebecca Atkinson (2), Zoe Dawson, Rebecca Hildrith, Ellie Walsh, Catherine Vincent and Janet Millar. However, it wasn’t a very good day for the ladies’ 4ths who fell 2-0 to Bedford.
The men’s 1st team had a long trip down to the south coast to face Brighton, but returned home empty-handed after a controversial decision by the umpire that saw them beaten 1-0.
Goalkeeper Nick Gage had produced a couple of fantastic saves to keep the hosts out, but with the clock ticking towards full time, Brighton were awarded a free hit and scored to win the game.
The men’s 2nds didn’t fair much better when they lost 2-1 to Eastcote, but they did have their chances – winning three penalty corners in the first half, but to failing to score from them. They did eventually take the lead through Toby King, but Eastcote hit back with two late goals to win.
The men’s 3rds drew 2-2 with Harrow – Dom Tyler and Will Luther helping them back from two goals down before Nick Lygobaker missed a late penalty flick.