8th March 2014
This weekend saw the top four teams in action against each other, Reading were taking on Clifton who had been dubbed the ‘Silent Assassins’ after their recent good form. The spoils had been shared during the previous encounter between the two sides, but this time the Ding were on home soil and were looking to take away all three points.
In the early stages of the half both Danson and Chamberlain went close but their shots narrowly missed the goal and went fizzing past the far post. Despite Reading’s early dominance and pressure they found themselves behind after an attacking corner broke down. The visitors capitalised on this opportunity and were quickly down in Reading’s circle, were Addison was on hand to slot home the bouncing cross. The home side were awarded a barrage of penalty corners and the Ding finally converted a routine in the last few minutes of the half through Gilbert who tapped in the rebound, after a powerful strike from Wilkinson. At half time the teams went in level, and Reading knew they needed to start converting their opportunities to ensure victory.
In the second half Reading found their stride and were extremely slick in possession and looking potent in attack. Reading’s defence was solid and the team were nullifying Clifton’s counter attack, which had posed some problems in the first half.
After a good passage of composed play, Danson was found by a pin-point accurate pass from Kate Richardson-Walsh. Danson attacked the head of the circle and found the goal with her trademark reverse stick, and gave the home side a 2-1 lead. Clifton came close shortly after when a ball went flying across the front of Ellis’s goal and a few inches in front of the stick of the oppositions diving attacker.
Reading went on to secure the win after Thomas coolly converted from the penalty spot, which was awarded when Danson was fouled and deemed to have been prevented a goal scoring opportunity. Reading controlled the final stage of the game and went home victorious. The win meant that the Ding were one point adrift from league leaders Canterbury and keeping the pressure on for the final few games.
March 1st 2014
After the previous weekends indoor exploits in Lithuania, Reading were back outdoors, travelling up to the Midlands to take on Sutton Coldfield.
The Ding were looking to keep the pressure on league leaders Canterbury and therefore required all three points from the fixture.
Reading started extremely brightly, with Maguire and Wilkinson controlling proceedings well from the back line. Reading’s attackers tested the home side’s defence on numerous occasions and this relentless pressure finally took its toll as Reading were awarded a penalty stroke.
Wilkinson stepped up but was denied by the upright. Before long Reading took the lead as Danson worked her way through the Sutton defence, and her early shot went flying into the netting. This lead was doubled after another stroke was awarded to the visitors. Wilkinson made no mistake this time, and fired the ball past Sutton’s keeper.
Reading’s attack was in full flow, and a sublime pass from Brooker found Townsend at the top of the circle, who added a third with a clinical reverse stick strike. Reading went in at half time leading 3-0.
Reading were unable to maintain the momentum they had generated, and started the second half slowly. Sutton, who had been unable to carve out any clear-cut opportunities in the first half, capitalised on Reading’s slow start scoring a corner within the first five minutes. Conceding a goal seemed to give Reading a new lease of life, and the visitors were back on the offensive.
Brooker powerfully finished off a good passage of interchange between her and Townsend, extending Readings lead to 4-1. Reading, once again were unable to push on, and Sutton took full advantage, pulling another goal back from a well-executed corner. Reading continued to press in an attempt to generate goal-scoring opportunities. It paid off as Brooker found Gilbert at the top of the circle, who fired the ball home.
Sutton finished the stronger of the two sides winning and converting a penalty corner in the final few minutes. However Reading had done enough by this stage to ensure they went home with the all-important three points.
Reading’s EuroHockey Indoor campaign kicked off against the Turkish team Kecioren Baglum SC. Reading started slowly and struggled to break down the extremely deep defence of Kecioren. However, Reading were the first to break the deadlock, through Helen Richardson-Walsh who calmly placed the ball past the onrushing keeper. Kecioren posed a threat in attack and within the space of three minutes had taken the lead 2-1, after clinically finishing a quick counter attack and slotting home a penalty stroke. Reading went in trailing at half time but quickly reduced the deficit early in the second half. Good pressure from Reading saw a string of corners awarded, and Thomas duly dispatched a well-executed routine. Thomas doubled her tally and within a minute of scoring her first corner she was slotting home another, and Reading went in front for the first time. Thomas completed her hatrick, after good patient build up play from Reading; space opened up at the top of the circle for her to drive and fire home Reading’s fourth. Danson added to the score line with a well-taken penalty corner, making the final score 5-2, and Reading took the full 5 points from their first game.
After the mornings victory Reading were ready to take on HC Rotweiss Wettingen. The early stages of the match were positive for Reading and Maguire’s brace gave them a 2-0 lead at half time. The second half saw four goals come in quick succession. Wettingen were first to score from a penalty corner but Reading replied quickly through Danson to maintain their two-goal lead over the opposition. However, Wettingen quickly scored two levelling the score to 3-3, after Reading turned the ball over and conceded two goals; one on the counter and the second via a corner. Helen Richardson-Walsh displayed some great individual skills as she passed two opposition players and rounded the keeper to score and with it take Reading back into the lead. Unfortunately Reading were unable to hold onto this lead, and Wettingen were successful in their search for an equaliser leaving the final score 4-4. The Reading girls had learnt a lot during the first day of competition and were looking forward to taking on the challenges of the next few days in their quest for promotion to the A division.
This morning’s game saw Reading take on Royal Antwerp HC. Reading knew a victory would see them top their pool and take three points through to the promotion pool. Royal Antwerp had other ideas, and took the lead in the first five minutes. Reading stayed calm and were quickly awarded a corner; Danson stepped up to fire home an equaliser. Reading defended well and created good opportunities going forward, however in the latter stages of the first half, Reading had to defend a barrage of corners. Ellis produced some great saves to keep the score level. Reading started the second half well and a good piece of individual skill and quick shot from Cockburn, deep within the opposition’s circle, saw Reading go 2-1 up. Shortly after, Reading extended their lead through Danson, who then completed her hatrick, after Halle was awarded a corner through good skills in the circle. Danson stepped up and zipped the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. This 4-1 win over Royal Antwerp meant Reading topped their pool and would take on the home side Gintre Strekte Uni in the last game of the day.
Reading came from behind twice during this match to secure a draw and a share of the points. The Lithuanian side had an extremely clinical corner routine, which they proved within the first three minutes. Reading quickly replied with a goal from Danson and both sides went close to taking the lead on numerous occasions, but went in level at half time. In the second half, Readings defence put in some great tackles to stop the Gintre Strekte Uni attacks in their tracks, but once again the opposition took the lead through another slickly executed penalty corner. Reading kept to their processes and within a few minutes were back on level terms with a second from Danson. The draw between the two sides meant there was everything to play for in the following mornings match vs. the Dundee Wanderers.
The pressure was on, with the format of the tournament, a draw or win was needed to see the Reading girls promoted to the A division. The battle commenced, with both sides giving it everything. Dundee struck first in the early stages of the first half with a well-taken penalty stroke. The next thirty minutes were a tense affair, with both teams defending resolutely and creating chances. Danson tested the Dundee defence on many occasions, however Reading were unable to convert any corners awarded. The final few minutes saw Reading up the ante by taking Ellis off the pitch and playing with an extra player outfield to score that all important goal. Reading’s perseverance paid off, Gilbert’s drop ball found Maguire at the edge of the circle who clinically and calmly dispatched the ball into the net.
Overall it was an extremely professional and gutsy performance from the Reading girls, with the result securing promotion to EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup in 2015. The medal ceremony that followed was a sight to behold. The podium was covered from above by colourful paper, as there was ticker tape galore! Who could pass up this chance to have a little fun with the photos…
Thank you again to all who have supported us on our European Indoor journey.