Poor run since Christmas break continues against Newmarket
Pelicans’ poor run since the Christmas break continued with a home defeat against basement club Newmarket.
Opposing teams have worked out how to play Pelicans and Newmarket were just the latest to shackle the prolific Poppy Beales with man-to-man marking, while stopping the hosts from playing out from the back.
The hosts started well with Mia Moore breaking down the right wing and crossing into the D to the waiting Beales who crashed a reverse strike high over the goal.
Moments later, Beales burst into the Newmarket D and with only the keeper to beat, struck a shot firmly towards the left corner of the goal that was kept out by an outstanding reflex save from the keeper on the stick side.
Pelicans kept up the pressure with Beales, Emily Pluck and Suzi Lemon all going close and a short corner won but not converted.
Newmarket, building patiently from the back, passed their way upfield and into the Pelicans D and, after winning a short corner, took the lead with a well-struck straight strike.
Ten minutes before the interval, Beales wriggled free of her marker, drove into the D and dispatched a powerful shot into the left corner to equalise.
Both sides had their chances in the remainder of the half.
Atlanta Stevenson made a fine save to deny the visitors a second while Beales saw a reverse shot sail narrowly wide at the other end.
After the interval, further chances fell for Lucy Lim, Lemon, Laura Tea and Lemon but they all went to waste, before a Newmarket counter-attack saw them regain the lead with a sweetly-struck, looping shot.
Pelicans lay siege to the Newmarket goal in the last 10 minutes as they desperately looked for an equaliser with Grace Carrier the driving force for many an attack with strong ball carrying from deep.
With about a minute to go, captain Tea fired a well-struck shot narrowly wide from a short corner.
The team is not short of individual talent nor was there any shortage of sweat and effort from the players.
But the hockey was disjointed, and the flowing, passing game the ladies produced earlier in the season is, for now, a distant memory.
Player-of-the-match: Grace Carrier.