Keeper foils Havant in stellar show

Naomi Brigg hit the woodwork for Havant. Pic Mick Young (133408-12)
Naomi Brigg hit the woodwork for Havant. Pic Mick Young (133408-12)
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant unable to halt Olton counter charge

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Luke Stone focused on the positives after Havant lost 1-0 to Reading in South Clubs’ Women’s League division one.

The Barncroft Way outfit slipped to seventh in the table when they were beaten by a second-half penalty corner on Saturday.

But Stone believed his team delivered one of their most complete performances of the season.

They dominated the match, enjoying long periods of possession and pressure but, despite a raft of chances, they failed to find a way past the brilliant Reading keeper.

‘We really deserved the three points,’ said Stone.

‘We won our individual battles all over the pitch, except for in front of goal.

‘Their keeper was magnificent.

‘She kept them in the game on a number of occasions.

‘We had more penalty corners, shots on target and possession, we just couldn’t find the back of the net.’

Player-of-the-match Amanda Hilsdon and Zoe Stride both tested the Reading stopper from penalty corners in the first period.

And seconds before half-time, Sophie Brigg had a shot pushed wide and Naomi Brigg rattled the woodwork.

With pressure mounting, the interval stopped the hosts in full flow.

Georgie Poole was denied shortly after the restart, before Reading struck the killer blow as a mishit penalty corner bobbled past Lauren Wake.

Havant were quickly back on the front foot as Stride powered a shot wide and Jess Bateman flashed a ball across the face of goal.

Wake remained alert at the other end and made a brilliant diving stop with her stick.

Sophie Brigg then burst clear only to see her low shot saved, before Emma Evans had an effort charged down.

The Reading keeper saved the best for last, though, when she made a brilliant diving stop from Naomi Brigg.

The visitors were reduced to 10 players late on after a cynical foul on superb Havant skipper Kim Tyrell.

But Havant couldn’t find a leveller – not that Stone was too concerned.

The coach said: ‘I can’t fault our performance.

‘It was a pleasure to watch and, despite the result, the girls were buzzing afterwards.

‘I think they are starting to realise their potential.’