Ladies Cup Victory
Having already secured promotion to the National League as champions a month ago, Maidstone ladies finished their season in style on Sunday, pulling off a major upset by beating a very strong Canterbury side 7-3 at Polo Farm. After seeing the Canterbury team sheet, full of Premier league players and internationals, Maidstone went into the game as underdogs.
It seemed the case after just 5 minutes when Canterbury took the lead through a rather scrappy short corner goal. Maidstone soon found their feet, however, and began to play some exciting attacking hockey of their own. Their fantastic movement and link up play was rewarded 5 minutes later when Lizzie Daniels brilliant first touch and finish equalised. The large crowd were then treated to some fantastic open hockey, with the game being played at an electric pace and the ball going from end-to-end. The intense period before half-time saw Canterbury again take the lead, before Jess Cremin equalised again for Maidstone. Jody Goodwin was then able to finish a great team move on the stroke of half-time to give the visitors a surprising lead at the break.
The second half saw Maidstone produce what was easily the best hockey of their entire season, with the movement and creation of the attacking unit creating chance after chance, and the composure of the defence keeping Canterbury at bay. Jess Cremin scored her second of the match to double Maidstone's lead after 45 minutes, before Courtney Cummins sent a spectacular first-time rocket into the far corner, which produced a deafening cheer from the Maidstone crowd. But the game was not over, and Canterbury came out fighting with 15 minutes to go. They created several chances in the space of a few minutes, but the Maidstone defence and goalkeeper Jenny Vincent stood firm, before finally being beaten by a scrappy goal. It then looked as though Canterbury had clawed another one back to bring the score to 5-4, after a Canterbury player found herself with an open goal to shoot at. However, Maidstone defender Laura Leatherbarrow had other ideas, and somehow managed to get back in time and calmly cleared the ball away.
It proved a vital moment in the game, as Maidstone immediately went up the other end to score, with Jody Goodwin grabbing her second of the match to increase their lead further and put the result beyond doubt. There was still time for one last champagne moment, however, with the brilliant season's top goal-scorer Jess Cremin finishing an excellent move to secure a hat-trick on her final game for Maidstone, before returning to university next year.
Also leaving the club is Kathryn Waldrom who is sadly returning to New Zealand after 5 great seasons with the club.
The scenes at the end were very special for Maidstone, who were delighted with not only the result but the impressive manner of their victory, and full of confidence for the National League ahead.