Ladies Sheppard in new year with win

Hockey editorial image
Hockey editorial image

Aylesbury got the new year off to a winning start against Bicester thanks to a rare Liz Sheppard strike.

The ladies started strong against a side one place above them in the league putting early pressure on the visitors.

Voriee Holmes led a number of strong attacks down the right wing linking well with Ria Leadbetter and forcing the Bicester defence to work.

Aylesbury went close on several occasions and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Natasha James was hauled down en route to goal.

The midfield of Becs O’Neill, Maz Hassal, Elisa Woodford and Gemma Hunter-Barnes worked tirelessly to support the attack and put in the tackles against a Bicester side who were pressing high.

But anytime the visitors threatened, their efforts were denied by the outstanding goalkeeping of Jade Hedger and a mighty goal line clearance from Kim Yeo.

Aylesbury were patient with Hannah Piggott and Emma Cooling confidentially switching the ball into space to build attacks.

Forward Lucy Potts drove the ball to win Aylesbury a short corner that was denied by the fast approaching defender in the last action of the first half.

After the break it was a more even match with some great passages of play.

But there were also some errors partly due to the sunlight making picking out fellow players more difficult.

With all to play for, Aylesbury continued to attack and as always were dangerous on the break. And so it proved when a surging drive in the ‘D’ by Woodford freed Sheppard who, unmarked, struck the ball cleanly first time straight into bottom corner.

With minutes to go, the home team’s play was slightly more frantic but all worth it as they held on to a 1-0 victory.

The strong performance by Aylesbury gets the new year and second half of the season off to an encouraging start.