AKS 1stXI hockey squad finished the term in superb style with a fantastic display of hockey to defeat Shrewsbury School and now march
into the 5th round of the England Hockey U18 Cup Competition.
Shrewsbury School had won their last round comfortably and had only narrowly lost out to the very strong Repton School so we knew
they would provide tough opposition but with a home crowd and the chance of progressing into the latter stages of the competition
the AKS squad were up for the challenge.
We got off to a nervous start and Shrewsbury had the first attack in only the second minute but in form keeper Emily P was on hand
to save and the scores remained level. We then raised our game and slowly started to take control of the game. Mollie M showed her
England pedigree dominating midfield and when she linked up with Rebecca W and Grace W we attacked at pace and put Shrewsbury under
intense pressure winning several corners. Shrewsbury defended our corners well but only a superb stick save in the top right corner
from the goalkeeper kept a great drag flick from Mollie M out of the net in the 10th minute to keep the scores level. Shrewsbury were
always a threat going forward and when a through ball found a Shrewsbury forward free high up the pitch only a superb tackle from
Lily H denied then a scoring opportunity. More good defending was required from Sophie B, Cally B and Freya B- S to regain possession
and with Farah D, Mollie M and Grace W working hard in midfield we linked attack and defence well and came close to going ahead when
Rebecca W saw two chances fly inches wide in the 27th minute. Lifted by our superb play we continued to attack at pace and put
Shrewsbury on the back foot and we got reward for our dominance in the 30th minute when another superb driving run from Rebecca W
saw her beat several players before finding Molly M free in the circle. Her composed reverse pass to wrong foot the excellent
Shrewsbury keeper found Sally S on the right post and she at last got the ball round the keeper to take us into a 1-0 half time
We started the second half the better of the two teams and won an early corner but again good defence from Shrewsbury kept the ball
out of the net. Shrewsbury then enjoyed some possession of their own and only great team defence and superb chasing from everyone
limited their scoring opportunities. Great pressing from Millie D, Jade F and Rebecca W up front constantly put the Shrewsbury back
line under pressure and with Grace W, Mollie M and Farah D always keen to drive forwards with the ball we again started to dominate
possession. It was however Shrewsbury who scored the next goal, against the run of play, when a great passing move in the 47th minute
saw an early strike beat an outstretched Emily P and the scores were level at 1-1. Lifted by the goal Shrewsbury gained in confidence
but AKS again showed their great character and raised both their work rate and level of play with everyone working hard in both attack
and defence and we won several mores corners only to see our shots blocked or fly wide. We got reward for our efforts however in the
33rd minute of the game when a piece of individual brilliance from Mollie M saw her drive into the circle having beaten five Shrewsbury
players before slipping the perfect pass to Sally S who was again in the right place to slip the ball past the keeper to take us
into a 2-1 lead with minutes to go. Determined to keep our lead we did not sit back but again pressed superbly to win the ball back
and when Rebecca W again used her excellent pace to get into the circle her fantastic shot deflected off a defender into the goal
to make the score 3-1 and seal another fantastic cup win.
Overall we were deserved winners having dominated for large parts of the game and had the lion’s share of shots on target but once
again it was the team character and determination that got us through as having had a lead pegged back we again came up with the
winning goals in the last five minutes of the game to clinch the win.
A superb way to finish a successful term and we now look forward to the next round after the Xmas break.