Batley Ladies thwarted by inspired display from young Halifax goalkeeper

Mel Neal helped marshall the Batley Ladies defence.
Mel Neal helped marshall the Batley Ladies defence.

Batley Ladies were hampered by unavailabilities owing to the half-term holidays as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Halifax in Yorkshire Hockey Association Division Four last Saturday.

Batley struggled to field a team and it was a bare 11 who lined up on the pitch ready for the game against Halifax, who started the day just behind them in the table.

Batley went out immediately on the attack and had some great chances.

Rach Stewart was suffering with a knee injury but was in the thick of the action, driving that attack up the field.

Batley were dominating the attack and keeping the pressure on but Halifax were dangerous on the break.

A trick shot in the circle slipped through the legs of the defence and rebounded off Helen Langwick’s pads in to the goal as Halifax took the lead against the run of play.

Batley were not disheartened and continued to make the attacks, looking strong and threatened an equaliser.

Batley had some great chances in the first half but Jo Forbes and Gail Culshaw just couldn’t get the ball past Halfax’s brilliant young goalkeeper, who helped preserve her side’s 1-0 advantage until half-time.

The second half saw more of the same as Batley continued to press.

Mel Neal and the defence were relatively untroubled as Batley continued to dominate the attack with a run of five short corners that they failed to capitalise on.

Having weathered the storm, Halifax replied with attacks of their own and one chance saw a lifted shot bounce of Langwick’s glove and hit the top of the ne, which doubled the lead and left Batley frustrated.

The midfield were not giving up driving the ball forward, as Gemma Elsworth had some great intercepts and opened up the attack time and again.

Sarah Fretwell also shone and Batley had a great defensive press, which helped them create a host of further chances.

In the closing seconds, Culshaw was brought down in the circle and Batley were awarded a penalty.

Fretwell stepped forward but Halifax’s brilliant goalkeeper saved the effort to keep a clean sheet and it was a despondent Batley who left the pitch.

Player of the match was shared between Gemma Elsworth and Rach Stewart.

Batley travel to Thirsk this Saturday with their opponents lying just one place below them.