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Oxford @ Brighton doubleheader, 23rd Jan

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Tree13
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:41 pm
gender: Male

Oxford @ Brighton doubleheader, 23rd Jan

Postby Tree13 Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:57 pm

Brighton 13 - 4 Oxford

Brighton's first team carried out a clinical dismantling of Oxford to maintain their table-topping position in a scintillating fixture down on the south coast.

Led by Olivia Morris and Bryony Roberts, both of whom put on virtuoso individual performances, Brighton surged to an early lead by scoring six goals in the first quarter. Club President Louise Argles, recently returned from deepest darkest Southampton, opened the scoring with a ankle-breaking cut and rasping shot and moments later her able sidekick, vice-president Matt Young, matched his boss with a confident solo effort. Oxford hit back with two quick goals to level things out, but at this point Olivia Morris flicked the switch and put on what can only described as a free lesson to everyone else on the pitch. Showing the form that has attracted the South of England selection panel, Morris used vision, guile, deft stick handling and the sort of dodging that makes her impossible to mark to orchestrate wave after wave of Brighton attacks, and more often than not Roberts was the beneficiary. Four goals left the score 6-2 at the end of the first quarter, and Oxford looked like they'd just been hit by a truck.

The second quarter was more of the same, with the male contingent of Brighton's team working as a unit to starve Oxford of the ball with a series of interceptions in midfield and defence. Time and again Oxford's attacks were broken up and within the blink of an eye the ball would be 30 yards up the field with Morris. Three more Brighton goals went unanswered and the score at half time suggested total dominance by the hosts: 9 - 2.

Brighton wisely made changes at the half, letting Morris, Roberts and James Nott take a break and bringing on the vastly experienced Sophie Riley to pull the strings in offence. Scott Flanagan added pace to the midfield and Charlie Leak provided a totally different challenge for the Oxford D in comparison to Roberts. The changes to personnel made little difference to Oxford's fortunes however, and their goalkeeper soon found himself picking two more Brighton goals out of the back of the net, one of which was a passing move of grace and beauty, finished with panache by a completely unmarked Charlie Leak. Oxford did muster a solitary riposte in this quarter through a superbly-worked overlap but otherwise the defensive wall of Megan Funnell and Meghan Neale simply rendered the Oxford attackers irrelevant. Score at three-quarter time: 11 - 3

The final quarter saw Roberts and Morris return to the fray to apply the coup de grace to Oxford's fast-fading hopes of a comeback. Morris twice had goals disallowed for shooting through and the cracks in Oxford's composure were now clear to see, with despairing defenders howling for their middies to try to get to grips with Morris. When this was briefly achieved through sheer weight of numbers, Tim Broomfield and Alice Marno stepped up to finish off two moves that both heavily featured Ben Western and Ryan Waldman making clever use of the spaces left vacant by Oxford doubling up on Roberts and Morris. Oxford nevertheless were resolute to the last, pulling back another goal in the dying moments, but Alex Stokoe spent the day in the Brighton goal largely unmolested.... considering the night he had beforehand, this was no doubt a blessed relief for him. Final score: 13 - 4.

Whilst there was no official vote the MVP was, in this writer's opinion, Olivia Morris. It must be said that Bryony Roberts finished the day as top scorer and proved to be virtually unstoppable in offence, but Morris' tireless running in midfield, flawless handling and frankly ridiculous accuracy in passing was a genuine joy to witness. If only she wasn't so terribly ginger...
Last edited by Tree13 on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
Tree13's posts only reflect Tree13's personal opinions. They do not represent the views of any other person, team or club. Any interpretation to the contrary is invalid.

Brighton #18 2008 - 2011; 2012 - 2014
EG #41 2011 - 2012
ILL Allstars #26 2011
Bristol #13 2005 - 2007
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Tree13
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:41 pm
gender: Male

Re: Oxford @ Brighton doubleheader, 23rd Jan

Postby Tree13 Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:58 pm

Brighton Panthers 3 - 9 Oxford

Immense credit must be paid to Oxford for this result; with just a few minutes' break following their game against Brighton's 1st team, Oxford retook the field to face the second team. The Panthers are a totally different kettle of fish, with only two non-freshers in the squad: Nevertheless the inexperienced team was in buoyant mood due to many of the firsts staying to offer vocal support from the sidelines.

Oxford got off to a flying start, displaying pace that you just don't expect from a team that has already played for 60 minutes. Goals started flying in from several angles and for a few minutes the Panthers were simply chasing shadows. Brad Hiscoke restored sanity to the proceedings by winning a couple of draws and slowly the Panthers began to creep back into the game. Captain Joe Slade found willing support in midfield from Valerie Hedges and attack wings Emily Cole and Kayleigh Upward began to find space out wide. Sophie "Tevez" Banks, the talismanic centre-forward for the twos, buzzed around constantly causing problems for the Oxford D but the Oxford keeper proved up to the task, beating away a couple of efforts. As Oxford swept the ball forward again, Lauren Raison and Dani Stevens found themselves dealing with a couple of very tricky Oxford attackers and through sheer tenacity the two Brighton defenders managed to stem the tide and leave Brighton keeper Jack Smith to gobble up the loose ball. A quick clear to Tom Beechinor saw the ball transition to Kieran Balmer and the old man of the team, too damn lazy to run any further, looked up and pulled the trigger on a forty yard pass to Hiscoke who caught the ball in full flight and lashed an unstoppable effort past the keeper.

Apologies for the lack of detail in this report but the writer was busy barracking his defenders and middies in an attempt to claw the game back from the stranglehold Oxford had established by halftime. Needless to say the visitors went on to score several more times in the second half, proving clinical in pouncing on the smallest mistakes by the inexperienced Brighton team and, despite the best efforts of Matt Buckler, Jules Heiksson and Lewis Montgomery, the Oxford midfield proved too pacy and elusive for Brighton to handle. Brighton did score two consolation goals, both of which were well-worked, but the writing was on the wall. A last gamble saw Brighton throw Balmer and Stevens up front to support Sophie Banks but Oxford's D were equal to the task; three zippy feeds from Balmer went begging as Hiscoke, Beechinor and Banks all found themselves attracting close attention from the Oxford defence.

At the final whistle Oxford could justifiably congratulate themselves on a comprehensive performance in which they dominated possession and territory, but the Panthers could take solace from the spirited defiance they displayed from start to finish punctuated by several passages of play where everything clicked, if only for a few moments. There were several opportunities wasted when the Panthers failed to shoot on target, and some naivety in clearing but the future looks bright. For the time being though, Oxford are deserving winners.

Many thanks to Livi Morris and Alice Marno for volunteering to referee at short notice, and doing a good job of keeping Slade and Balmer under control!
Tree13's posts only reflect Tree13's personal opinions. They do not represent the views of any other person, team or club. Any interpretation to the contrary is invalid.

Brighton #18 2008 - 2011; 2012 - 2014
EG #41 2011 - 2012
ILL Allstars #26 2011
Bristol #13 2005 - 2007

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