L1 Held To A Goalless Draw At Loughborough
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies were held to a goalless draw by Loughborough Students at Loughborough University on Saturday.
However, the game was anything but a typical 0-0 draw with end to end hockey and chances at both ends, but ultimately defences were on top with both goalkeepers, Miriam Pritchard for Loughborough and Sabbie Heesh for Surbiton making excellent saves.
Surbiton last drew 0-0 at home to Slough in March 2019 with their last goalless draw on the road coming at Bowdon Hightown in November 2017.
Loughborough's last goalless draw had been at home to Ben Rhydding in the Conference North in February 2017.
But if justice had been done, none of these milestones would have needed to be recalled as both teams did everything but score in a thoroughly entertaining game.
Loughborough took the game to Surbiton in the early minutes with the defending champions needing to regroup to cope with the hosts' enthusiasm and confidence.
Surbiton were grateful to Robyn Collins defusing an combinded attack from Olivia Hamilton and Catherine Ledesma. Surbiton's Alice Sharp squeezed her way through two Loughborough defenders before the attack broke down.
Ledesma was thwarted by Heesh towards the end of the first quarter and early in the second, a penetrating pass from the right by Emily Atkinson was controlled in the left of the circle before being smashed past the right post by Corinne Zannoli, making her debut after joining from Stanford.
Ella Cusack ran at the Surbiton defence and former Surbiton player Izzy Petter was always a danger, but the scoreline remained blank at the interval.
Loughborough also threatened with shots which went narrowly wide of the Surbiton posts and both teams were guilty of crossing the ball at speed across the circle with nobody making contact.
Surbiton will also be concerned that they failed to convert any of their seven penalty corners, although that was in part due to the heroics of Pritchard and a clearance off the line by Hamilton.
On one occasion the injection was not trapped, but Zanolli rescued the situation but could not make progress.
Surbiton seemed to have the initiative towards the end of the match, but Loughborough defended well and will see the point won as progress from last season and could also argue that they could have won the match.
Both teams are yet to concede this season after Surbiton beat Buckingham 3-0 at home last Saturday and Loughborough won 1-0 at Holcombe.
After two rounds of matches, East Grinstead, now on a 17 game unbeaten run, are the only team with maximum points following their 3-0 home win over Beeston.
Surbiton and Loughborough are second and third, with Holcombe jumping up to fourth after a 5-0 win at Swansea.
Wimbledon were brought down to earth and dropped from top to fifth as Clifton Robinsons bounced back from last week's home defeat to East Grinstead with a 3-1 win over last season's Division One South champions.
Hampstead & Westminster, without a game this week, are sixth, ahead of Clifton, with Buckingham in eighth as they beat the University of Birmingham 3-2. Birmingham, who had a bye week last week, are ninth above Beeston, who are yet to score this season and Swansea, who seem set to struggle based on their first two results in 2020-21.