Sevenoaks travelled to Isca & University of Exeter for their first away game of the 2019/20 season following their opening day victory at home against Cambridge City. By contrast, Isca, who were promoted into this division from the Investec Women’s Conference West, were beaten 6-1 by Wimbledon in their opening match. Sevenoaks were also able to draw upon the depth in their squad to provide a 1st XI debut in this fixture to England U16 player Ryana Macdonald-Gay.
Isca started the brighter of the two teams and were able to capitalise on an early break to convert in the third minute. Sevenoaks however used this as an opportunity to patiently build up play and as the first quarter progressed went from strength to strength, creating a number of opportunities and winning short corners, although frustratingly were unable to convert. This momentum continued in the second quarter when Jen Wilson, assisted by Sophie Maunder, fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net, past the Isca goalkeeper.
Once Sevenoaks were on level footing, they played with more confidence and continued to create opportunities, including a two-on-one against the goalkeeper and clever interlink play between Maddie Thompson and Hannah Pike but only saw the shot go agonisingly past the post.
With the team playing high tempo attacking play, Sevenoaks were unfortunately caught by a quick break by Isca who capitalised to retake the lead in the 29th minute. The half-time came at an opportune moment and gave Sevenoaks a number of key focus points to take into the game to continue to push for further goals and were unlucky to hit the post from another short corner and the rebound shot was fantastically saved by the Isca goalkeeper.
Isca continued to attack with pace and again were able to create a goal scoring opportunity which was converted to give a two goal lead early in the third quarter.
Sevenoaks continued to attack but a number of fine saves from the Isca goalkeeper prevented any further goals being scored and the university side took all three points. Nicki Skrastin was awarded man of the match for the second game in a row thanks to her tireless running in midfield and Sevenoaks can take a number of positives, as well as some important learning points, into the coming matches.
Sevenoaks look forward to welcoming Canterbury for a Kent derby to Hollybush Lane on Saturday, push back is at 5.00pm.
Sevenoaks Hockey Club will be supporting Pink Week, in aid of Breast Cancer Care, with a number of fundraising events planned alongside Saturday’s games, so all support for this valuable cause, and wearing something pink, is also welcome.