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Essex Open make mark on Minchenden

PUBLISHED: 14:30 23 January 2017

Essex Open have had a good first half to the season

Essex Open have had a good first half to the season

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Minchenden 26 Essex Open 57

Understrength Essex Open proved too strong for Regional League hosts Minchenden in north London at the weekend.

Missing five of their regular squad due to fixture clashes and injury, Essex were expecting a tough battle with resources stretched to the limit.

Jenny Taafe came into the side as goal-shooter and Essex made other tactical switches, including a new formation.

The early exchanges were fairly even, with Essex 5-4 up after five minutes as Michelle Stewart and captain Zoie Humphrey made life difficult for the Minchenden attackers.

Essex then enjoyed a good spell of pressure with Leah Humphries and Taafe putting away a succession of chances as the mid-court trio of Leanne Spencer, Sarah Biss and Sarah Cambell took control.

And after going into the first break with a seven-goal lead, Essex simply swept Minchenden aside in the second quarter, scoring six goals without reply.

With Humphrey driving her side forward, the hosts simply had no answers and Humphries and Taafe took full advantage of numerous opportunities created for them.

Essex continued to score freely and dominated the second quarter to such an extent they outscored their rivals 15-2, with the only concern being an injury to Biss.

The visitors reshuffled their line-up for the second half with Leanne Spencer moving to centre and Lara Carlisle going to wing defence and it took a while for them to adapt to the changes.

Minchenden also made changes and enjoyed their best spell of the game to edge the quarter 10-8, making it 37-19 to Essex.

But any hopes of cutting the gap in the final quarter were soon dashed as Essex took control again, with Humphries and Taffe proving unstoppable.

Cambell was finding space to provide them with lots of chances as Essex scored 20 goals in the quarter to finish well clear in their quest for a play-off place.

Essex remain second behind leaders Academy and return to their Essex Met League Division One title push with a vital clash against second-placed Manor.

Essex Open: Stewart, Humphrey, Spencer, Biss, Cambell, Humphries, Taafe, L Carslisle.


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