St Andrews women’s hockey 1st XI was unfortunate to lose 3-2 against Aberdeen University at the Sport Centre on Wednesday amid hellish torrid weather conditions.
After a tough and unsuccessful start to the season in Scottish 1A, St Andrews were keen to make amends, starting the match brightly despite grim conditions.
Positivity in attack was stressed from the outset as accurate passing merited a well-worked score from an incisive through ball after only 3 minutes.
Aberdeen immediately looked to strike back, though; skilful dribbling from their attacking players earning three consecutive short corners, the last of which was swept back to the edge of the area and driven home for an equalising score.
The blanket of blinding rain hindered both teams’ attacking ambitions. St Andrews’ expansive game-plan, based on spreading the ball and creating space, was made sluggish, whilst Aberdeen’s attempts at intricate interplay became increasingly scrappy.
Both teams attacked and counter-attacked with gusto, St Andrews’ goalkeeper making an impressive double save in the aftermath of a short corner, allowing St Andrews to counter, with hard running earning a bundled goal in the 17th minute.
St Andrews took momentum from the score, dominating play for the next 10 minutes, building pressure and firing hopeful crosses into the Aberdeen penalty area: had one or two met their targets then St Andrews might have run away with the result.
Aberdeen rallied, however, keen to go into the break level and exerted much pressure of their own, largely through mazy running and close control from their strikers. Some committed defence from St Andrews ensured that the lead was taken into halftime.
Aberdeen came out for the second half determined and organised, forcing two saves early before another goal from a set piece tied the score at 2-2.
From this point the game devolved into a dogged battle as both teams tired, possession changing hands often as each team pushed for a decisive goal. Both teams struggled to move the ball into space, causing congested scraps for control in midfield amid strong tackles and much clashing of sticks.
Aberdeen was fortunate to come out on top, breaking away from the midfield mêlée to tuck away the winner in the closing minutes. Both teams performed with tenacity, gritting their teeth against the conditions and, on reflection, a draw would have been a fairer result.
St Andrews have two weeks to prepare for the visit of Edinburgh Women 2 nd XI to the Sports Centre on Wednesday 31st October.