The ‘old rivalry’ of Nottingham and Sheffield produced a very tense and tight affair for this Womens Premier League fixture.
At no time was there more than one goal between the teams, but in the end it was Nottingham who capitalised on their multiple powerplay opportunities to take a narrow 5-4 win.
The visitors opened the scoring through Katherine Wiggins, but this was quickly cancelled out through Nottingham’s only even-handed goal of the night, scored by Jessica Urquhart.
Periods 2 and 3 were dominated by minor penalties. This year’s Vipers have a much greater depth in their forward lines and conversion of 50% of their powerplay opportunities proved to be the deciding factor for the win. Two goals from Robin Mullen, a further from Jess Urquhart and a first of the season for Megan Rathbone edged it for the home team.
Vipers were missing some key defensive players for this fixture and full credit goes to Sheffield Shadows for giving Nottingham’s defense a very difficult evening in which they outshot the home team by 42 to 34.
In her rookie season with the Vipers, Alice Haddleton stepped up to mark and deservedly took Man of the Match for a fine performance, which included a first point following an assist on Nottingham’s fourth goal. Laura Dance also chipped in with an assist to open her account for 2018/19.
After Chelmsford Cobra suffered a defeat at the hands of Kingston Diamonds earlier in the day, the win over Sheffield leaves Vipers sitting top of the table at Christmas.
This is a remarkable turnaround for a team that this time last year had hardly won a game and scored so few goals.
Just three points separate 1st position from 6th position in this seasons’ WPL. Whether Vipers do or do not challenge for the top place by end of May 2019, all the players are gaining such great experience in a truly competitive league, the reputation of which will have grown considerably this year.
Robin Mullen 2+2
Jessica Urquhart 2+0,
Megan Rathbone 1+0
Alice Haddleton 0+1
Laura Dance 0+1
Madison Wright 0+1
Renata Mudrakova 0+1
MoM: Alice Haddleton
SOG: Nottingham 34
Holly Steeples: SVS% 90.5 ; Shots on Nottingham 42