Hampstead & Westminster Ladies make a winning start to life in the National League
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster Ladies continued where they left off last season as the newly-promoted side beat Maidenhead 4-3 in their first ever National League game on Saturday afternoon.
The away side, who won the Southern Premier Division last season, came out of the blocks all guns blazing as they eyed revenge on a side who ended their National League hopes two years ago with a controversial late winner.
H&W made the perfect start as they took the lead early on following an impressive counter-attack which involved Helen Cathcart and Joyce Esser. A strong right-hand attack from Cathcart was deflected into the path of Dutch newcomer Esser, who found Emma Stocking and she finished with aplomb to make it 1-0. Mo Rahman’s side continued to push forward and soon doubled their lead following their first short corner of the game.
Stocking was again the right person in the right place as she guided the ball home via the post for her second of the game.
H&W ended the half strongly and duly added a third goal, this time through Louis Radford, who notched a fantastic solo goal.
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She dribbled past several players before setting herself up for a shot on goal, perfectly placing the ball into the back of the net, giving the Maidenhead goalkeeper no chance in the process.
Maidenhead came back into the game after the interval, with two of Hampstead’s forwards receiving green cards early on in the half, as the hosts eyed a foothold in the match.
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Hampstead were left shell-shocked as a crazy 15-minute period saw the hosts level the game back at 3-3, setting up a pulsating ending to the game.
But H&W recovered well to grab victory in the dying embers of the game, with Radford’s corner finding Cathcart who won her side a last-gasp short corner.
Esser showed great skill and composure inside the area as she drag-flicked the ball low and hard into the corner to secure a dramatic 4-3 victory.
Next up for Hampstead & Westminster is a home match against Harleston Magpies on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Hampstead & Westminster’s men’s team opened their 15th season in English hockey’s highest league with defeat as they lost 1-0 at Reading.
Tom Carson cooly converted from the spot deep into stoppage time as the hosts grabbed a deserved victory.
They take on Cannock next in their opening home game of the season on Sunday afternoon (2pm kick off).