Clarke scores twice as champions Ben Rhydding are given tough test at Sheffield Hallam (From Ilkley Gazette)
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Clarke scores twice as champions Ben Rhydding are given tough test at Sheffield Hallam
9:20am Thursday 22nd March 2012 in Ben Rhydding
Sheffield Hallam 1 Ben Rhydding 4
The last time Ben Rhydding visited Sheffield their promotion dream was shattered by a goalless draw on the final day of the season.
On this occasion they went there as the newly-crowned league champions and received another hot reception.
Sheffield may be mired in mid-table but they are a side capable of rising to the challenge and gave Ben Rhydding their hardest game for some time.
It was just the sort of challenge Ben Rhydding needed Captain Jodie Bridger said: “It was good because they came out at us and the game was played at an unbelievable pace.
“For the first ten minutes we tried to put a full press on them but Sheffield kept possession well at the back.
“That forced us to change tactics to a three quarter so not to over stretch ourselves.
“This worked well well for us and it enabled us to get more of the possession.”
Gradually Ben Rhydding got on top and both Emma Thornbury and Rachel Doherty went close as they forced the agile Sheffield keeper into a number of saves.
The deadlock was finally broken in 21st minute when a deflected short corner strike by Sarah Clarke flew into the net.
Ben Rhydding extended their lead when Emma Thornbury scored after a short corner.
Sheffield’s enterprise was rewarded with a goal from short corner just before half-time The second half saw Ben Rhydding dictating the tempo. They played the ball around with more pace and this enable them to create more chances.
Sheffield managed a few attacks but were contained by excellent defending by Sophie Atkinson and Rebecca Fox.
Jo Ellis got the third goal from a quick break by Amy Wilson and Clarke scored her second with an impressive lift over the keeper at a penalty corner.
Clarke was outstanding in mid- field where she combined well with the hard-working Bridger.
Ben Rhydding will be without Rachel Doherty and Eleanor Trafford for Saturday’s trip to Whitley Bay but they do have Rachelle Le Bourdon returning.