Goalkeeper Jayde Holcombe was still missing with a dislocated toe and back up keeper Jess Phillips was also unavailable through a back injury. This meant that striker Romany Cochrane continued her stint in goal. With Laura Garlick ruled out in a pre match fitness test,Georgina Bragg was dragged into the back three with Laura Elphick moved to right wing back. Nicky Hawkins-Hoare returned to centre midfield after injury which meant that Fran Dalton was moved upfront to partner Lydiya Myckalechko with Annie Hawkins-Hoare in a free role behind the front two.
The game was barely thirty seconds old when Oldlands Achilles heel surfaced once more as a deep run from midfield saw Mendip's Tash Crew burst unchallenged onto Oldlands goal and she lobbed the helpless Cochrane from 20 yards. In fairness to Oldland, they remained reasonably solid for the rest of the half but the away team just edged the first period as they were a touch sharper to the ball than Oldland and passed the ball better. They had chances to increase their lead but Cochrane made some good saves while at the other end Dalton,Annie Hawkins-Hoare and Beth Dale all went close for Oldland though the away keeper was rarely tested.
The second half however was another story. If Team Mendip had shaded the first half, there was little doubt who the superior team was in the second. With Oldland pushing higher up the pitch so that the midfield could try and influence the game more they gradually took control of the second half especially after Dalton's equalizer. She picked up a loose ball before beating a couple of players and her scuffed shot was placed well enough to beat the despairing dive of the away keeper. Except for a couple of sporadic breakaways and a couple of long range free kicks in the last couple of minutes, the rest of the second half belonged to Oldland. With Dale,Nicky Hawkins-Hoare,Sophie Gidley and Laura Elphick having much more of an influence in the game, the Abbott's were creating plenty but unable to put the ball away. Sub Emma Raikes-May was denied by a last ditch tackle, Jade Scammell blasted over from a corner from 10 yards and Gidley could only shoot straight at the keeper after a mazy run took her past a couple of Mendip players.Indeed a similar run saw her pull the ball back across the box to find Annie Hawkins-Hoare but with the goal at her mercy the pass was inches behind her and she was unable to adjust quickly enough to put the ball away.
Dalton sent a cross shot just wide and Dale flashed some great balls across the box without anyone being able to get on the end of them. The away team were visibly tiring but Oldland stuck to the task and as the referee blew the final whistle there was a sense of frustration as after producing their best second half display of the season the elusive search for the first three points of the season was agonizingly just out of reach.
If performances continue with their upward trajectory then the first win isn't far away.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH--ROMANY COCHRANE--The stand in keeper was assured and made some great saves at crucial times in the game.