WITH fine margins potentially determining their fate come the end of the season, attacker Nicola Conway believes the magnitude of Kendal Ladies’ victory against Ben Rhydding cannot be underestimated.
It was Conway who cancelled out Rachelle Le Bourdon’s early opener for the hosts before half-time, laying the foundations for Beth Cordukes to strike a late winner for the visitors.
Languishing second-bottom in the league table prior to the start of play, the chance to haul themselves clear of immediate danger proved an important incentive for Conway and Co.
“A draw would have been ok but we would have still stayed where we were so getting the win sees us leapfrog Ben Rhydding as well as Boots – we’re on a high,” she said.
“Winning and moving out the relegation zone is massive for us and definitely a morale boost, particularly with the opposition being a direct rival and so close to us in the league table.
“We had to win really but we didn’t put too much pressure on each other. We went out to enjoy it and I think that’s when we play our best hockey.
“If we had come back with no points at all it would have set us up badly for the remainder of the season but thankfully we don’t have to think about that.”
Heading into the contest, Kendal were without three key players in Sally Scott, Laura Morris and Emma Taggart with Becca Camp making her national league debut.
Le Bourdon gave Ben Rhydding a fifth minute lead following a short corner although the away side were undeterred and battled their way back into the game.
Kendal equalised on 22 minutes, Cordukes supplying the ammunition with a pass across the D to Conway who smashed the ball into the bottom corner.
On the stroke of half-time Kendal conceded a penalty flick although goalkeeper Fiona Battersby made a crucial save to ensure the scores remained level at the break.
Both sides strived for a winning goal in the second period with Melanie Whalley and Gayle Fennell impressing in the Kendal defence.
And with five minutes remaining, Cordukes drove the ball forward into the D and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner to secure maximum points for the visitors.
Ben Rhydding remained a threat in the latter stages, forcing four short corners in the dying minutes as Kendal defended heroically to prevent the ball crossing the line.
This win sees Kendal move seventh in the league table, six points ahead of basement side Doncaster and two clear of Boots and Ben Rhydding.
Conway is Kendal’s leading scorer this season with nine goals and she is keen for her side to target further points from this weekend’s clash at fifth-placed Stourport.
And while the 23-year-old admits the quality of defending makes goalscoring a harder art to master at Investec Conference North level, the desire for making the scoresheet is undiminished.
“I’m definitely going into Saturday’s game thinking we can get something from it – we held our own in the home game, which we lost 3-2, and it was no walkover,” she added.
“I’m used to scoring goals from the edge of the D but I don’t get the chance to do that anymore, I’ve definitely had to adapt how I play to score.
“The defenders mark you harder in this league and you have to work it around the players and the goalkeeper a lot more.
“But I love scoring goals and this is the best league to score in, you definitely get more out of it although I wouldn’t be scoring unless the other girls got the ball to me.
“My latest goal followed some really good work from Beth Cordukes and all I had to do was put the ball in the back of the net.”