MANX Telecom Vikings are into the quarter-finals of the English Hockey Association Women’s Vase after they beat Stratford 3-0 in Liverpool on Sunday.
The Wi-Manx Premier Division champions went into the weekend’s fixture not knowing what to expect from the Warwickshire outfit and this was reflected in a nervous first 10 minutes as the English side attacked right from the push forward.
Vikings slowly found their composure and began to enjoys some good possession in the middle of the pitch.
Stratford tried to counteract this a series of long balls and hard clearances and their good spell was capped with a penalty corner that produced a fine clearance from Vikings’ Hayley Crowe.
At the other end of the pitch, Vikings began to put the opposition defence under pressure and just before half-time a cleared ball fell nicely into Sarah Breen’s path. She went past her defender before supplying a fine ball into the circle where Karen Faragher had made a great run to deflect it in to give the Manx side the lead.
Stratford tried to hit back, but failed to convert the two penalty corners they had just before the break.
Some more fine defending from the Vikings’ backline gave the rest of the team a solid base to build on at the start of the tie’s second period and the Manx side drew several fines saves from the Stratford goalkeeper.
Vikings finally broke the Stratford resistance and netted a second goal when prolific captain Kim Carney shot diagonally across goal, the ball striking the inside of the post on its way in.
With only four minutes of the game remaining, Stratford went for broke replacing their keeper with an extra outfield player on the pitch. The ambitious plan seemed to work at first, only for Vikings to hit their opponents on the break when Zoe Carney’s long ball was turned home by Faragher to seal the win for the Manx side a minute from time.
Vikings now face Newcastle on March 13 for a place in the competition’s semi-finals.