Loughborough Students 2-1 Kendal
MADDIE TAIT’S deflected second-half strike proved decisive as Loughborough claimed their second win of the season and Kendal once again lost by the odd goal in a closely-fought encounter.
Vicky Jones drew the visitors level within a minute of England under-21 player Katie Shanahan’s opener before fellow international Tait struck to secure maximum points for the students.
The first-half was an end-to-end affair with both sides enjoying possession and creating opportunities in the attacking third.
Defender Emma Woodburn kept the scores level with an impressive goal-line clearance but was powerless to prevent the hosts taking the lead in the 25th minute.
Loughborough has a reputation for producing internationals and can count the likes of Mary Nevill, Jennie Bimson, Fiona Greenham and Karry Williams as former players.
And it was a member of the current crop tipped for the top who broke the deadlock, Shanahan finding the net after an initial save by Kendal goalkeeper Fiona Battersby.
Loughborough Students women’s hockey club has a rich heritage having won the BUCS championship title for 11 consecutive years, most recently in 2008.
But the home side’s lead was short-lived, Jones scoring her second of the season to restore parity with a cheeky flick past the Loughborough stopper.
The end-to-end nature of the game continued into the second-half with plenty of goalscoring opportunities for both sides although Kendal held their ground defensively.
Battersby produced a commanding performance between the posts for the away side and was ably supported by Laura Morris, Melanie Whalley and Woodburn.
After battling hard, Loughborough scored the winner in the 52nd minute through Tait, with the 20-year-old’s shot deflected into the roof of Battersby’s net by a Kendal stick.
Jon Elleray’s side produced some neat combination play in the final stages but were unable to find a second leveller to ensure a share of the spoils.
Despite being a match for their more established opponents throughout the clash, Kendal are still without a win since defeating Boots last month.
As in previous games small margins proved decisive with attention now turning to Saturday’s fixture against third-placed Wakefield at Kirkbie Kendal School.