It was a slightly chilly, overcast Saturday morning as we arrived at the perfectly manicured home pitch of City Belles. I had to smile a little as I saw the Belles’ supporters busy wrestling with their new Samba goals…it was quite early for such an exercise in mental agility !
Initially there was some good interplay between Izzy and Jas who fired the ball well on goal on a couple of occasions, stopped only by the above mentioned goal posts.
A few minutes in, Kitty positioned herself to take a Woburn corner. With her usual accuracy, she launched the ball across the face of the Belles’ goal which unfortunately for the Belles, forced them into an immediate reaction. On this occasion it resulted in their defender heading it into her own goal (I’m sure all our girls can sympathise as to how that feels). Kitty could claim a goal and it took the steam out of the Belle’s defender for a while, enabling us to get a firmer footing in the game.
The opposition lino wasn’t having such a good day either and was swapped over shortly into the game due to some alleged poor offside calls from which I believe we largely benefitted. The balance was readjusted somewhat with the arrival of the replacement lino.
A lovely move initiated by Izzy who passed to Olivia, then laying it off to Kitty resulted in our second goal. Kitty struck her first left-footed goal of the season (due in no small part I am sure to the left-footed goal practice introduced to the training regime by a certain coach extraordinaire, who shall remain nameless). Well done Kitty ! 0-2.
In the latter part of the first half, Izzy and Mollie both took hits at the same time with Mollie having to come off for a while. The girls seemed at sixes & sevens temporarily until the team regained their shape and composure.
Maggie and the defence, who had been particularly effective during the first 30 minutes, returned to the pitch ready to continue their battling for the second half but for midfield and the forwards, the sense of urgency seemed to have been left at the side of the pitch with the oranges. They took their feet of the accelerator which served to allow the Belles admirably back into the game and much of the play was in our half. There was very little running off the ball.
Ruby K, Mollie, Tayla and Maggie defended comfortably but with midfield and attack not firing on all cylinders the ball constantly returned into our area. Ruby K made some great passes today and Tayla ensured that the Belles’ striker was denied an opportunity on goal.
Maggie was called into action a lot today securing one particularly challenging save in the second half which kept the score line in our favour. Somehow we managed to survive a lengthy period of play directly across the face of our goal as no matter how hard we tried, we didn’t seem to be able to successfully clear it.
Izzy had her work cut out today trying to shake off the close attention of the Belles’ tenacious number 3. Olivia was great down the left wing causing problems for the opposition all morning but the coaches awarded Girl of the Match to the girl whose athletic runs, determined tackling & good distribution was excellent today. Only recently appointed County gymnastics champion, Mollie takes the GOM title too.
In the closing stages Katie found some space and out ran the defender to place a central strike towards goal; just not quite enough strength on it this time but well done Katie for keeping up the pressure.
While it was ultimately a win today for the girls, it was very much a game of two halves for us again though unusually it was the second half in which WWFC seemed to take their feet of the accelerator. I felt we were lucky to hang on to 0-2 today. The defence clearly had a good work-out but I was a little disappointed to see how much energy the midfield and attack still seemed to have in store when the final whistle blew.
Tony dodgy stats :
1st half possession 2nd half possession shots off target shots on target corners
City Belles 40 65 5 4 5
WWFC 60 35 7 3 7