Bedford whip Woking to make last 16

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Bedford HC’s ladies make it through to the last 16 of the England Hockey Investec National Cup with a 4-0 victory at Southern Premier side Woking on Sunday.

With a string of first team players unavailable, Bedford’s squad made several changes with second team captain Cheryll Whaley joining the side, while there was a first team debut for U18 academy starlet Kate Hawkins.

Bedford started the game well and took the lead within the first five minutes when a long corner was quickly upgraded into a short corner which Suze Macken struck to injector Andrea Mason for a reverse stick tip-in.

The rest of the first half was a fairly scrappy affair with many passes intercepted and possession squandered by both sides with fatigue evident from the previous day’s tough game.

Bedford, however, always troubled their opponents when they came forward into the circle and nearly extended their lead through Kate Hawkins and Becky Childs.

Verity Mason McLeod in the Bedford goal was well protected by the impressive unit of Rachel Jackson, Harri Kinnear and Clare Stacey with Jenna Maclaren picking off a number of Woking passes on her reverse side and acting as a defensive shield in the holding role.

The second half was a much more eventful affair and fortunately it was Bedford who had that extra bit of quality in front of goal.

Andrea Mason scored her 10th first team goal of the season after Jackson played a great long ball up from the back.

Mason turned well to beat her defender before sliding the ball past the goalkeeper with a cool, composed finish.

Woking had a fair bit of possession in the midfield and showed a great deal of determination to get back in the game, but rookie keeper Mason McLeod proved a thorn in their side with some confident reaction saves.

After captain Sherri Skene and Suze Macken had fired shots over the bar, Kate Costin was denied a clear-cut penalty stroke after she was felled by the Woking goalkeeper, but only a short corner was given.

Bedford, however, have been looking sharp from their set-pieces and Costin struck two flicked corners, one deflected high into the goal, and the second placed inside the left-hand post to give Bedford a four-goal cushion.

Woking’s chances of grabbing a consolation goal were dealt a blow when they were reduced to 10 players after one of their defenders fouled Hawkins and, despite the Hampshire side showing some neat touches and skills in the midfield, they couldn’t translate that into goalscoring opportunities.

Bedford saw out the victory in a professional manner with SJ Darrington, Childs and Whaley all helping with the defensive efforts and Mason McLeod capping a fine performance with some late low scrambling saves to see Bedford safely through into the last 16 where they will host National League side Wimbledon.