Had it been allowed this was a game that deserved a live audience and fan participation.
The 4s rolled into Burnaby Rd hoping to scrape off the rust of lockdown, play eye candy hockey and feel great afterwards. Well, this was not scraping off of the rust but a powerwash supercharged performance worthy of previous league champions.
It was a new look team with Pip back for her 3rd game in 4 years and you’d hardly have known it. She didn’t get too many touches in the first 20 minutes because the possession and attacking prowess of the team meant the ball was mainly in the attacking half. Rambo latched onto a pass in the D to score the first goal of the season (in the 11th minute according to the records of Umpire JB-D) to give the 4s a deserved lead.
It didn’t stop there, everyone heeded the socially distanced inspirational team talk from Capt Taylor, to attack in numbers and get the ball back quickly. Indeed the team were once again on the front foot as Taylor swept the ball in the goal to increase the lead. The 4s played a kind of hockey reminiscent of a pinball wizard. The passes were laser sharp, transferring the ball across the pitch and pulling the defence around like puppets on a string. Burnie and Bully pulled the strings in the middle of the pitch with Ali always free to pivot the attack left or right. Sue North gave options on the left and when she picked up a pass from Jane, she created mayhem resulting in a short corner.
The 4s are renowned for their short corner routines and with Taylor off the pitch Sharpy stepped in for a strike. This was a traffic stopping moment, the ball was nudged forward for a cracking shot into the bottom left hand corner, 3-0. Who needs Taylor and Broady ?????
New Forest are an organised team with skill and fitness, and they weren’t taking this lying down. Although against the run of play they did score a goal from some confusion on the goal line. Undeterred the 4s pressed on and extended the lead by a cheeky little backhand flick by Ali took the score to 4-1. NF responded and the score was 4-2.
Taylor came on the pitch, mindful of the goal league table, took a short corner strike and cracked it again in the button left hand corner. Who needs Sharpy and Broady she smiled!!! The defenders were getting in on the action but Bea, Lucy and Izzy all played their part in starting attacks and pressing high. But NF pressed and scored, 5-3.
It was a pass from Lucy on the left, that went through the midfield that initially looked like a hail Mary pass to Ali on the right, but out of nowhere, Bryony moved into DRS range, picked up the ball and then she shoots, she scores, 6-3.
The 4s played the game just like Newcastle UTD of the 90s and Liverpool of late, you score 3, we’ll double it!
There maybe sterner tests ahead in a couple of weeks :-) but this was solid performance full of flair from the 4s.