Oxford 3 – 0 St Mary's A COMMANDING performance saw the Oxford Women’s Hockey team continue their glistening run of form, in the dark surroundings of Iffley Road. 
Having begun the BUSA season impressively, the Blues were eager to assert their dominance over a struggling St. Mary’s team, who had no points to their name coming into the game. The home side put pressure on their opponents immediately, forcing early errors from the St. Mary’s back four. Beth Wild was the first to make inroads, linking up with her team mate on the right hand side, before failing to get on to the end of an over-weighted through-ball. This began a frustrating period for the Oxford girls, who were unable to translate dominance into early goals. Despite a profusion of carefully rehearsed short corners, the Blues struggled to beat the resilient St. Mary’s keeper, who pulled off impressive saves to deny first Ravenscroft, and then Cook.
At the back, the Blues were well organised and communicative, despite struggling to contain their opposing captain, Lee. The midfielder demanded close attention from the Oxford players, who found it hard to cope with her physicality at times. In the 30th minute, she came close to putting her side ahead, having muscled her way in to the Blues’ area only to be denied by a good tackle from central defence.
Shortly afterwards, Oxford deservedly went ahead via Beth Wild, whose athletic run allowed her to beat her marker and nestle the ball into the corner of the goal. After this breakthrough, Oxford played more freely, penetrating the St. Mary’s defence with consummate ease, despite failing to add to their tally before half time.   
After the break, Oxford seized momentum again, causing problems for St. Mary’s on both flanks. Straight away, Ravenscroft was unfortunate not to get on the end of a forceful cross from the right, whilst Wild also came close to increasing her tally. At the other end, St. Mary’s were beginning to compete and the home side were fortunate to see Patterson’s deflection sail over the bar from a short corner.   
From the touchline, the Oxford coach referred to his players as ‘guys’, making no allowance for laziness or technical deficiencies. He displayed his demand for professionalism when he cursed a rare mistake by Sumpter in defence. St. Mary’s failed to capitalise on this uncharacteristic error, allowing the Blues to dispatch the dangerous loose ball to safety. Shortly afterwards, Alice Cooke increased Oxford’s lead, displaying impressive dribbling skills before tapping the ball past the St. Mary’s keeper to make it 2-0.
Surprisingly, it was the match officials that provided the most controversial dimension to a game that was hard-fought throughout. Both sides were bemused by the referee’s judgement when he awarded a number of dubious short corners, particularly as he was often behind the run of play. Whilst these mistakes might have balanced out over the game, Oxford were more capable of exploiting them; the assistant’s questionable decision to award the Blues a short corner allowed the home side to put the game beyond doubt at 3-0.  By this stage, there was little anger from the St. Mary’s bench, who had resigned themselves to the fact that they were fighting a losing cause against superior opposition.