Women’s hockey: Walden get tactics spot on

PUBLISHED: 13:50 01 February 2011

Nia Evans

Nia Evans

Archant

TACTICAL changes and a hard-working team ethic helped Walden secure a creditable draw with one of the East Women’s Division One promotion contenders.

Cambridge University 1 Saffron Walden Women 1

TACTICAL changes and a hard-working team ethic helped Walden secure a creditable draw with one of the East Women’s Division One promotion contenders.

Nia Evans provided a lovely finish to make sure that her team left with a deserved point after a strong performance which keeps Walden in fourth place.

As expected Cambridge – who sit second and are five points ahead – started positively and pinned Walden in their own half.

However the away side were prepared for a potentially tough afternoon and had adopted a defensive formation to pack the midfield and ensure they restricted chances for the hosts.

Walden’s forwards rotated regularly to keep fresh and disrupt Cambridge’s defence but were unable to create enough space to get into the game.

Despite Cambridge’s possession it was Walden who fashioned the only real chance of the half. Having defended a short corner well they broke quickly, Claire Wyatt fed Julia Westnedge in front of an open goal.

When it looked more difficult to miss, Westnedge somehow managed to push the ball wide from four yards out. Nil-nil at the break.

As the second half got under way new midfield partnership of Emma Deary and Tash Cox put in the groundwork with numerous tackles and limiting their opponents’ time on the ball.

Walden won several short corners but were unable to convert and it was Cambridge who struck first.

A short corner struck the post, rebounded across goal and Cambridge reacted quickest to the loose ball and scored.

Hannah Burlinson and Maia Lamb continued to defend well for Walden as they searched for the equaliser they deserved.

It arrived courtesy of a strong dribble down the left wing by Georgie Coote who then crossed in front of goal.

Having run from midfield Nia Evans arrived at the ball before the diving keeper, turned smartly, and smashed the ball into the centre of the goal.

Walden endured a nervous last five minutes as Cambridge pressed, Polly Oakman made an important save and the defence were fully committed to ensuring Walden went away with a point.

Next: Walden host Pelicans at Newport Grammar School. Push back at noon.


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