Goodricke edge Alcuin in semi-final thriller

Goodricke were pushed all the way by Alcuin and eventually won on penalty flicks to secure their place in this year’s Varsity

Fiona Hill

Alcuin fell foul of sudden death penalty flicks after their frightening comeback left Goodricke stunned at the full time whistle. It was a game that neither team deserved to lose, but one of them had to. Goals from Dave Washington and Grace Cowen pulled Alcuin level after they went 2-0 down in the first half thanks to an own goal and a good strike from Goodricke’s Tara Annison.

Goodricke started the first half the better of the two teams, penning Alcuin inside their own half and looking like they could inflict a heavy defeat on the Owls. A clever ball by Tom Merriman nearly gave the Hes East side the lead when a deflection saw the ball loop up and crash onto the Alcuin goalpost.

The breakthrough soon followed. A penalty corner for Goodricke was worked to forward Tara Annison whose shot was scuffed into the air. Confusion ensued, and after several deflections, the final touch came from an Alcuin stick. An own goal meant Goodricke took a deserved lead considering their initial dominance.

Alcuin seemed to be woken up by the Goodricke breakthrough and nearly levelled minutes later. Mike Wallis split the Goodricke defence with a precise pass to Cowen, but she could only shoot wide under pressure from an alert Goodricke ‘keeper.

However, any potential Alcuin resurgence was quashed when Tara Annison doubled her side’s lead before half time. The forward found herself clean through and swept the ball across the Owls’ ‘keeper to put some daylight between the two sides.

Alcuin gave a glimpse of things to come in the second half just before the half time whistle. Wallis and Ruth Mason both missed opportunities to halve the deficit but could only shoot narrowly wide.

The second half signalled a new lease of life for the Owls, who looked the more focused of the two teams for the duration of the second period. Neil Lawrence nearly grabbed a goal from Alcuin within five minutes, but his shot from the edge of the area was well stopped.

Alcuin got themselves back in the game soon afterwards thanks to some good work from Mike Wallis. The Owls’ forward chased a misplaced pass down and kept it in well on the Goodricke by-line. His crisp cross took a deflection and looped to the back post where Grace Cowen was waiting to tap the ball in and start the Alcuin comeback.

Dave Washington came close to providing Cowen with her second of the day. A mazy run from the Alcuin midfielder saw him beat three players, before laying the ball off to Cowen. However, the Goodricke ‘keeper had read the situation well and was out early to deny Cowen a simple finish.

Goodricke gave the Owls a reminder of their attacking flair on the break, winning themselves two penalty corners, one of which had to be cleared off the line by Burroughs. Tara Annison missed a good chance to double her personal tally, when a good pullback came to her on the edge of the area but she could only scuff her shot and give the Alcuin goalkeeper a simple save.

Alcuin came close to levelling from their own penalty corner when Ruth Mason had a shot well blocked thanks to some committed Goodricke defenders.

The leveller followed directly from the penalty corner. Goodricke cleared the ball to the sideline and Dave Washington took the ball quickly and ran at the Goodricke goal. His rifled flick found the top of the near post and cannoned into the goal, sending the numerous Alcuin supporters into raptures.

Upon the full time whistle, the teams were tied at 2-2 and, like the earlier semi-final, the game went to penalty flicks.

Washington, Merriman, and Mason all converted their penalties before Tara Annison sent her penalty straight at the Alcuin goalkeeper to hand the Owls the advantage.

Annison was handed a reprieve when fellow goalscorer Grace Cowen missed for Alcuin, meaning the teams headed into sudden death.

Neil Lawrence stepped up for Alcuin, but his shot came back off the base of the post and Marcus Taylor converted for Goodricke to send last term’s league champions through to the final.

Alcuin captains Hettie Leslie and Ellie Blackley spoke to Nouse after the match, commenting, “It was very, very stressful. We did give them a run for their money and I knew we would. It was a really good match. I’ve no idea what I did [at half time] but it clearly worked!”

Goodricke’s captain Laura Mitchell spoke very highly of Alcuin after the game. “Alcuin are such a good team and their comeback in the second half was amazing. But obviously we are pleased to win.”

Alcuin: E. Blackley (C), H. Leslie (C), B. Sutch, G. Cowen, M. Wallis, R. Thomas, N. Lawrence, M. Cox, J. Burroughs, N. Yates, C. Brown, R. Mason, D. Washington, Y. Jhons (GK)

Goodricke: L. Mitchell (C), T. Merriman, T. Annison, S. Murray, A. McDonald, S. Kemp, A. Cuthbertson, D. Gilks, J. Grieve, J. Thorne, O. Wilkinson, L. Bancroft, H. Jeffs (GK), S. Witham, M. Taylor

Player of the match: Dave Washington

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