Newark Ladies 1s dropped two points as they drew with University of Nottingham in an early start on their new water based pitch.
Becky Wells and Millie Hill scored as the visitors fought back twice to even the game. University struck through two quickly taken penalty corners and as the visitors struggled with the environment, the home side made their experience of the pitch count by playing the ball around with ease and finesse.
As the match progressed Newark adapted to their surroundings and were able to put pressure on the University defence and restrict their movements. Laura Donaldon making a welcome return into the team, set up both goals for Newark as she turned provider rather than scorer. Donaldson secured enough votes for Player of the Match . Through hard work and determination, Newark built on the pressure and were then able to attack quickly and force the home side on to the back foot. Whilst Georgia Barratt earnt her match teas as she kept Newark in the game.
Newark slip to second in the table as for only the second time since the opening day they allowed the opposition to score twice. A tough day on a tough pitch but there were moments of good play and plenty to be positive about.
Player: Laura Donaldson
Newark Ladies 2s had an early start on Saturday travelling to Goosedale. Aztecs enjoyed the early possession and put pressure on Newark from the off, making the most of the rising sun and stealthily working the ball into the Newark D. Newark's defence worked hard repeatedly clearing the ball only for it to come back again. Lilian Dean made some excellent saves and Aztecs had to access their top draw to find the backboard, which they did several times in the first half. Early on Newark had a chance to equalise following a defensive clearance, Ella Wolfenden picked up the ball and headed for goal, Mel Woods raced after her and was set in the D with only the keeper to beat, unfortunately Mel's footballing past came back to haunt her and the chance was gone. The second half Newark were starting to wake up, Newark created space with Zoe White, Madeline Horrocks and Rosie Staniforth running the wings, and Sophie Chambers offering support in the midfield. Aztecs went on to score more from short corners but Newark eventually got one back via Ella Wolfenden, oh how Newark cheered, alas it was too late to change the result and the game finished 7-1. Some chances missed by Newark, however, special mention to Lily in goal and Player Loren Venables for their valiant efforts preventing Aztecs scoring any more.
Player: Loren Venables
A chilly morning greeted Newark who were feeling positive as they went against 2nd in the table Players. Unfortunately the positivity faded as Players were awarded a short corner in the 1st 5 minutes resulting in a goal. Panic ensued and Newark played scrappily, losing structure and going in with their sticks too often.
Despite this, a cracking hit from Emily Crisp looked like it was going off the back line and was watched un-challenged by both teams but Izzy Wells stood strong on the left post and knocked it in past a bewildered keeper equalising the score.
Newark continued to frustrate coach Paul but managed to get a short corner in their favour which saw the ball injected by Sara Jackson to Ann Crockett- McLean at the top of the ‘D’. She passed swiftly to Rachel Spolton on the right who got a strike past the opposition taking Newark into the lead at half time.
Some strong coaching was what Newark needed and they played much better in the second half,
creating space and keeping their structure. Soon into the half, the ball was passed up to Ann who dodged around 2 players and scoring goal number 3.
Players continued to fight, ensuring Newark got to display the defensive skills of Hannah Bond, Anna Hall and keeper Freya Grocock and legs were worked hard for Jacky Nullis, Louise Goodman, Ellie Smith and Tash Gresswell. Newark kept the pace though and a fantastic pass from Sara on the right to Laura McMunn and on to Suzie Gray saw a lovely 1-2 between Laura and Ann along the base line with an easy pass to Suzie on the penalty spot who slotted in goal 4.
The final nail in Players game came from Ann who stopped a hit out and passed to Sue Birkett. She drew the keeper out, passed back to Ann who got her second goal of the game.
Player: Ann Crockett- McLean.
Newark welcomed an undefeated Leicester panthers team this weekend, in a top of the table clash. Newark were looking to close the gap between them, which looked as if it could be a tough ask with numerous members of the team missing.
The game started at a fast pace with Newark pressing the panthers team back deep into their own half and creating a lot of chances but could not make anything stick in the opening few minutes, until after 12 minutes, Ben Eagles found the ball at the end of his stick, after the keeper had pulled off a save allowing him to slot it home putting Newark in front. Before panthers had a chance to collect themselves Newark had made it 2-0 with Davies picking the ball up from another save and sliding it passed the stranded keeper.
It took Newark a little longer this time to put their chances away it was not until the 32nd minute when Tom Smith converted at the back post from a short corner, Newark kept the ball until the end of the half.
At the start of the second half Panthers started the stronger team and it only took them a couple of minutes to pull a goal back, this however also resulted in the 1st card being shown in the game as an altercation between a panthers player and Davies which left panthers down to 10 players. Newark made the extra players count when Gary Barker popped up at the back post to deflect the ball into the back of the net. This started off a period in the game which saw a very end to end play which also saw another 2 yellow cards being shown, one to a panthers player and one to a Newark player, John Reynolds. This seemed to get panthers firing again as they managed to pull back another goal but Newark settled down and started creating more chances, another yellow was shown to a panthers player who took down a breaking away Sam Smith.
The game descended into disarray as panthers players started picking up more and more cards but Newark managed to stay calm and composed and finished the game 4-2 winners.
Man of the Match: Tom Smith
Goals: Alex Davies, Ben Eagles, Gary Barker and Tom Smith.
Newark travelled to Leicester Westleigh who got promoted with them last year so were expecting close encounter
Throughout the first half both teams created chances but neither team were able to put them away. With the best chance falling to Tim McManus on the back post who was only able to deflect Steve Littlewood's cross wide.
Newark continued to create chances and Simon Higgs missed an opportunity to score with a one on one with the keeper that he couldn't convert. However as the game opened up Leicester Westleigh made the most of a quick counter attack and scored against the run of play. Unfortunately this wasn't the only counter attack goal that Leicester Westleigh scored with two more coming in this fashion that left Newark disappointed to go away with a defeat that could easily been a win for them.