Smith and Mussett hit doubles for Whitby

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AFTER an overwhelming 19-0 win last week, Whitby Hockey Club knew the game against Barnard Castle - their strongest opposition - would be a different matter altogether.

Both teams started fiercely with Barnard Castle showing off their passing skills.

Whitby constantly tried to penetrate the Barnard mid and successfully struck their first goal home when Jaclyn Smith cut into the centre from a wide position to strike the ball into the back of the net.

Whitby’s midfield of Lisa Mussett, Beth Sanderson and Smith worked tirelessly linking with the attack, finding Emily Gee and Nicola Kent unmarked on several occasions.

A surprising break from Barnard CF made it 1-1.

Knowing what needed to be done, Whitby built up some strong attacking moves from Alex Bagnall and Sammy Gibson in defence, passing was so precise the second goal found Mussett and Gee easily moving round the defence with Lisa Mussett hammering a ball into the left corner of the goal.

Finding their flow, Beth Sanderson eliminated several players to find Beth Grason in the centre and the latter was unlucky on several occasions not to score.

A foot in the circle then gave Whitby a short corner. A perfectly-timed stop by Sanderson and slip to Mussett resulted in the third goal at half-time.

Barnard Castle stepped up their game in the start of the second half with their forwards pressing and putting a lot of pressure on Zara Noble, Bagnall and keeper Kirsty Dixon, who made some fine saves.

But a well worked set piece found Barnard scoring their second goal to reduce the lead to 3-2.

This was a crucial part of the game and Whitby knew it was a turning point.

The fitness of the team started to shine through and the passing lanes opened with Sammy Gibson feeding some great balls through to the forwards. Emily Webster and Abi Milward had a quiet game on the LW due to a strong opposing RD.

Nicola Kent hit a superb reverse strike from a left cross from Smith made it 4-2. Barnard’s CF then made a fine break from a long ball to catch Noble and Dixon on the wrong foot, making it 4-3.

Whitby had all to play for but clinched the win when Smith cut in from the left and hit a clean strike into the top right of the net.

Player of the match: Beth Sanderson.

Whitby 5 Barnard Castle 3