A FIRST win of the season was secured by Highbury’s third team on Sunday as they saw off Bec 3s 7-5.
George Thorpe bagged a hat-trick to move himself into the top goalscorer of the season so far for the third team and Jack Birch scored a brace of goals in the first half. Laura Goulden and Karthik Ramulu also got on the scoresheet in a match which although pleased Highbury in terms of the result, will be leaving them with discipline headaches as they gave Bec too many penalties.
The fact is, if these set pieces had been slotted home, the Reds would have lost by a healthy margin and they will be looking to cut them out in the future.
Having battled back from four goals down a week earlier to draw 10-10 against the same team, the hosts came into the clash with confidence and made just one change with Ellie Simes replacing Sarah-Louise Burgess, while Craig Morgan came in on the bench instead of Dave Graham. Bec should have taken the lead early on when Thorpe lost the man he was marking, leaving the korf undefended, but Highbury had a lucky escape as he failed to find the basket.
In other opposite division, chances were coming with Richard Hayward, Hannah Ackerley and Simes all missing opportunities and about seven minutes in, Bec took the lead after moving the ball around the court before firing a shot from the right wing.
This would be the only time they would be ahead though in the match as after a sleepy start, Highbury started firing, starting with Birch bagging his first after collecting and finding safe free under the korf.
Ramulu got the chance to score from a penalty after Goulden was taken in the side by her defender, but missed and a free pass seconds later was not converted either.
However, Ramulu made amends with his next attack when after good defence from the opposite division, him and Thorpe linked up under the basket, with the skipper getting the better of his marker and finding the target.
Another penalty was won by Highbury but again Ramulu could not convert it, although Thorpe nearly pushed the rebound in.
Thorpe did soon make it 3-1 though as he found the collect after a shot by Philippa Stevens and made no mistake from less than a metre out.
He soon conceded a penalty for being ajudged to be marking a girl and Bec cut the advantage to one goal, but Birch doubled his tally for the day, receiving a collect after a long shot by Hayward to make it 4-2.
Bec had opportunities from a free pass and the penalty spot, but failed to score either of these set pieces and after an excellent interception from Simes, Highbury worked the ball around the court and Thorpe ended the move, finding enough space for a stylish shot in the corner which went in.
Another penalty went by for Bec after Simes went into the side of her marker and Thorpe should have got his hat-trick earlier when he got right under the basket, but scuffed his shot. Discipline was becoming a massive factor hurting Highbury as Simes moving her hands up into her marker gave Bec another chance, but again it was not taken and this was followed in the next Highbury attack with a lovely goal by Goulden, making it 6-2 at half time.
In the first attack after the restart, Bec bagged their third goal of the match as another tired-looking start was made in defence and despite some decent moves in attack, Highbury saw the lead cut to two points when stupidly Thorpe lost concentration and put his hands up to defend a girl again. This set up a penalty which Bec scored.
Highbury should have made it 7-4 when Thorpe and Ramulu linked up well again on the move, with the latter’s pace skinning the defence, but his pass could not find Stevens.Yet another penalty was squandered by Bec and Thorpe had another chance under the basket, only to find it not in a position he expected it to be in, causing him to miss the chance in the process.
In what was becoming a common theme of the day, Bec won two more penalties for going in at the side, but they were not scored and neither was a free pass they received.
Thorpe found space at the other end for a shot, but his range was off and his effort sailed way over the korf, but he soon made amends when he collected from a missed Ramulu penalty and slotted the ball home for his hat-trick.
He promptly celebrated like Fabrizio Ravanelli, forgetting it was not a change of ends and running into the other half, prompting a few laughs.
This would be the last goal scored by Highbury, although Thorpe felt aggrieved not to have a fourth chalked up to his name when he was judged to have been defended behind the korf.Ramulu missed an opportunity and Stevens also missed what looked a simple chance when Thorpe intercepted a pass and found her in acres of space, but the chance went begging.
Following another missed penalty, Bec bagged their final score when a feed was allowed in and the attacker being marked by Simes gave her the slip get a runner on target.
By this stage, there was very little time left on the clock and Bec were unable to mount any more sufficient attacks to trouble Highbury.
Next up for Highbury 3s is a meeting with Supernova 3s at the Petchey Academy on December 4th.