THAT EXTRA pace and strength, as well as that superior vision of where to play the ball, can make a huge difference. And it largely stems from being part of the Great Britain centralised squad.

Slough found that out to their cost on Saturday when internationals Lily Owsley and Erica Sanders inspired the University of Birmingham to a 1-0 win at Upton Court Park.

“Owsley had a great game,” admitted the Pink and Blacks’ assistant coach Mal Alexander. “What she did really well was to play other players from her team into the game. That bit of extra experience you could see that.”

The game was only four minutes old when Owsley gained possession just inside her own half and embarked on a powerful run that Slough were unable to stop.

Her deep cross into the circle was not cleared and Sanders came in from the left to fire past keeper Asha Tranquille Day, who had been drawn off her line.

It was a disappointing goal for Slough to concede as they had made a bright start to the game with Charly Brydon soon testing Kath Somerville in the Birmingham goal.

Brydon was also not far away from equalising after Mel Ball had made good ground down Slough’s right flank.

The hosts also forced two penalty corners, with the first being cleared off the line and then Dilly Newton seeing her effort blocked. As Alexander later remarked: “Small margins cost us in the end.”

Slough produced some promising approach work without being able to sustain it in the final third.

The No 2 coach added: “Both teams played very well and kind of cancelled each other out.

“We did have a few (scoring) opportunities to get back into the game, but they (Birmingham) played very well.”

The University - who also included Livy Paige, a newcomer to the England squad – looked the more likely side to score in the second half.

Tranquille Day, later named player of the match, produced an excellent stop from Holly Munro following a penalty corner.

The keeper came to her side’s rescue again to end a promising move instigated by Owsley and, when she was beaten by a shot from Sanders, the post came to her rescue.

It was Slough’s second successive defeat and they slip to seventh in the Premier Division standings, but are just three points behind second-placed Birmingham.

The Pink and Blacks are next in action on Sunday (2pm push-back) when they make the long trek around the M25 to face fourth-placed Holcombe, who like their visitors are on 10 points.

Alexander concluded: “It will be a tough game, but we will definitely be ready for it and I am sure we are capable of bouncing back.”

Check out the Observer sports Facebook page. Search: Robert Observer Sport and like, follow and share today.