Exeter 2s 0 – 0 Cambridge 1s
Afine defensive display saw the EULHC 2s take a valuable point against top-of-the-table Cambridge in a stalemate encounter at home.
A cagey opening for both sides saw Cambridge have the better of the early openings. With most of the game being played in Exeter’s half of the pitch, the home defence was busy from the outset; Rachel Brooks making some vital tackles to keep the visitors at bay.
As Exeter struggled to get out of their own half, goalkeeper Kat Slater performed a vital save to deny Cambridge an early opening. Ably supported by Lottie Leith on the left, a clean break by winger Ellie Stephens provided the first real op- portunity for Exeter but it was comfortably defended by Cambridge, who were dominating the game without having many clear cut opportunities. Bronwyn McLean was performing very well, hustling her opposite numbers and good link up play with Leith unfortunately lacked an end product.
Skilful work from McLean saw Exeter win the first penalty corner of the game. Although it wasn’t converted, it proved to be a catalyst for the home side. The hosts began to look much more comfortable, and were fashioning space behind the defenders which was exploited well. Cambridge were clearly ruffled, and unusual errors began to creep into their play. They recovered, however, and certainly finished the half the stronger of the two sides; Kat Dunn making some important interceptions, whilst Slater was called upon once again and did just enough to put off the onrushing Cambridge striker. As the rain began to pour, Exeter seemed to be clinging onto parity; Cambridge looking to counter attack quickly and encamp themselves in Exeter’s final quarter.
The hosts began to look much more comfortable against their visitors
The second half started with good intensity. Alice Lowden’s attempted through ball was unable to find Paloma Arrazola Martin in attack, but Martin was looking continuously dangerous up top. This good intent was matched by Cambridge, but whilst play moved from end to end, both sides lacked that final killer instinct. Having conceded two penalty corners in quick succession, Exeter were put heavily on the back foot, but resilient defending saw the ball stay out of the goal.
It was discipline that then reared its ugly head towards Exeter, and at one point Exeter were three players down. With the game so open, Exeter were looking to work down the clock, and doing so well. With only five minutes left, the home side were camped in their own half as Cambridge continued to press for a breakthrough.
A frantic ending ensued, and a goal- mouth scramble was successfully cleared by Exeter. In an open game which could have been won by one goal for either side, Exeter performed well against a very well drilled Cambridge side.