Johnson and Howard are net-busters!
Date published: 11 January 2017
OLDHAM Ladies Hockey Club defeated old foes Urmston 5-4 in a topsy-turvy North Hockey Women's League Division Two South-West fixture at Newman College.
Joint third in the table and chasing down a top two of Crewe Vagrants and Deeside Ramblers, the hosts went into the game without centre-back and captain Daisy May-Ward and left-back Amy Broadbent.
The festive break meant both teams were a little rusty in the early exchanges.
It was Oldham who broke the deadlock. Rebecca Blair fired home with a perfectly struck reverse-stick strike, before Rachael Johnson made it two from just inside the 'D'.
Former Manchester League rivals Urmston pulled a goal back with a fine effort, which gave goalkeeper Sarah Simpson no chance. And it was all square moments later after a penalty corner.
Oldham upped the tempo and Louise Howard was denied by the Urmston shot-stopper, but she made no mistake after being sent in by Johnson.
Parity, though, was restored just after the break from a short-corner routine.
Oldham were stung into life, and Amanda Smith played a long, accurate ball up to captain for the day Howard, who turned her marker and fired home beyond the flat-footed Urmston goalkeeper.
In command, Oldham played some lovely, fast-flowing hockey and a six-pass move saw Karen Rowley feed player of day Johnson, with Howard lurking close by.
The Urmston goalkeeper appeared distracted or expected a deflection from Howard as it was Johnson who notched her second of the game.
Oldham relaxed - chances went begging - and Urmston scored a fourth with two minutes left on the clock.
It was a nervy last few minutes.
However, Oldham held out to keep up the pressure on the two sides above them in the table.
Oldham: S Simpson (GK), K Faulkner, F Lees, Y Jackson, J Perry, D Rawlinson, R Johnson, G Jones, R Blair, L Howard (C), K Rowley, A Smith.
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