Hockey - Alford Ladies

Alford Ladies 1st 2

Shefford & Sandy 1st 3

Alford played host to Bedfordshire team Shefford & Sandy in an East League Division Two NW mid table clash in bitterly cold, icy conditions.

And it was the away side who struck first when a long ball down the left was collected by striker Amanda Wood in the D whose powerful shot flew into the goal and rebounded off the backboard with equal speed.

Within minutes Alford’s Luan Burton equalised. After a skilful solo run through the Shefford half, and with only the keeper to beat, she pushed the ball through the keeper’s legs for 1-1.

The second half continued like the first, at a frantic pace with the game switching from end-to-end and tackles flying in from all angles.

The visitors continued to press the Alford goal and were awarded a short corner.

As Alford tried to clear their lines, the clearance fell straight to striker Rachel Grainger who skilfully drag flicked the ball into the roof of the net for a superb goal for Shefford to edge into the lead at 1-2.

Within minutes, Shefford stretched their lead when the Alford defenders again struggled to get the ball out of defence and, with a melee of Alford players surrounding the ball in the centre of the D, a lone Shefford player dug the ball out and pushed it past the stranded Alford keeper for 1-3.

This third goal caused Alford heads to drop and their normal passing game fell away.

Shefford now looked the more likely to score and take the game out of Alford’s reach but a chink of light was found in defender Jess Wood, whose pass down the left to captain Chloe Bolland made enough room to cross for striker Kelly Tuplin, who pushed the ball into the Shefford goal for 2-3.

A now inspired Alford found their form again and began passing to out manoeuvre the Bedfordshire side. They were unlucky not to equalise after some excellent passing saw striker Kelly Tuplin faced with almost an open goal in front of her, but she struck just wide leaving the score 2-3.

Louth 1st 1 Alford 1st 4

In their most recent away game, Alford travelled the short distance to Louth to face their most local rivals in Division Two NW in a thrilling fixture.

Alford showed their intentions from the off and with their first attack they stormed the Louth goal area.

After a foul for a high stick on Kelly Tuplin resulted in Alford being awarded a short corner, Chloe Bolland swept the ball to the right post where winger Vic Allen pushed the ball into the net for Alford to take the lead.

The early goal settled Alford and their play consisted of precise passing manoeuvres and close defensive marking, making it difficult for Louth to get a foothold in the game.

However Louth are not a team to give in without a fight and a Louth breakaway attack found centre forward Chris Giles who, even though closely marked by defender Becky Murray, was still able to get a strike on goal, finding the bottom left hand corner to equalise.

After such a good start, Alford were determined not to lose this fixture and with Louth needing to win to stave off relegation, the game became a frenzy of end-to-end attacks.

Shortly before half time Alford regained the lead after a goal mouth scramble saw Kelly Tuplin make it 1-2.

After the restart Alford strived to increase the score and, having been awarded a further short corner, Kelly Tuplin received the ball from the right and struck the ball into the bottom left hand corner to increase their lead to 1-3.

Alford, now comfortable with their lead, oozed class. The midfield of Luan Burton, Chloe Bolland and Tracy Le’gate worked the ball through the field, and the speed and skill of Vicky Allen and Kelly Tuplin found spaces in the Louth final 25.

With attacks on the home goal more prevalent the defenders struggled to keep Alford out of the attacking D and, having collected the ball at the 25, Kelly Tuplin rounded the defence and, with only the keeper to beat, struck the ball into the back of the net for her hatrick and Alford’s fourth goal.

The defensive team of sisters Jess and Sophie Wood and Becky and Kate Murray held strong and stopped any Louth breakaway attacks and the score remained 1-4.

Alford Ladies 2nds 1

Spilsby 0

A depleted but not down hearted Alford Ladies’ 2nds team travelled to Louth on Saturday to face Spilsby Ladies on a cold and wet morning.

Alford were determined from the onset to not let their lack of players reduce their ability to command the field, however Spilsby had possession of the ball for much of the first half.

However, with quick reactions and team work from Alford’s defensive line of Helen Gray and Kenzie Gray, aided by Claire Lippolis and the quick reactions of keeper Charlotte Bee, Spilsby were denied all attempts of a goal.

In the 25th minute a break away from Alford saw midfielder Kelly LeGate cross the ball to find attacker Claire Smith’s stick for a shot on goal sending Alford one-nil up at half time.

The second half of the match saw a refocused Spilsby side working hard to reduce the lead and equalise the score but their attempts were made futile by the uplifted spirits and determination of the Alford ladies.

Some great play between midfield and defence allowed for further shots.

With two minutes to go Spilsby broke through with a final attack in an attempt to even the score but the Alford defence stood firm for a well-deserved Alford win.