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U11 Clarets v Tatternhoe U12 Girls

We welcomed Tatternhoe’s U12s this weekend for a friendly and, our last game of the season. The morning was overcast but mild and there was definitely a sense of being ‘demob happy’.

Due to numbers, we were able to play 9v9 in preparation for next season and Dean set the girls up in a Christmas tree formation with Jas up front, Olivia, Izzy & Charlotte in midfield and Scoobs, Kitty, Ruby & Mollie across the back. Freya took up her usual spot in goal for what will be her very last home game for the Clarets. To begin with, Tayla & Katie were on the bench.

                                       Jas catching air.

WWFC started quicker out of the blocks largely dominating possession. However, as is common in football, going against the run of play Tatternhoe secured a corner and the first goal of the game as our girls struggled to clear the ball. Woburn were a little guilty of ball-watching rather than going in for the tackle.

Woburn gathered themselves though and went on to dominate much of the first half with many shots on or around the opposition’s goal but just failing to secure the ball comfortably into the back of the net.

Olivia took a hard ball into the stomach which forced a change of line-up but happily she was back on in the second half. The visitors’ captain also took a ball hard in the face but thankfully she too carried on.

It remained at 1-0 when the half-time whistle blew.

Kitty looking for the pass.

With the back line under-used, Dean rejigged the team to give us a more attacking emphasis (which I have named the Christmas tree formation with a fairy on top, ie 1,1,3,3 1). The girls looked comfortable with this and held the pressure on the opposition.

Woburn remained on top and on one occasion Izzy bounced off the post lining it up perfectly for Katie who, although connecting well with the ball, sent it sailing over the crossbar. Never mind Katie; another day that would have gone in.

Izzy going in for the tackle.

Olivia doing battle.

Woburn had nine corners during the course of the match and both Kitty & Olivia put Tattenhoe’s defensive line under immense pressure. On one such occasion, Kitty fired the ball into the danger area where it took a number of deflections and finally went in off Charlotte’s boot to credit her with her first goal of the season. Well done Charlotte.

Charlotte in possession.

Olivia, who had her work cut out marking Tatternhoe’s athlectic winger, was awarded Girl of the Match today by the opposition. Our parents named Ruby K as their Girl of the Match for the home team. Ruby gave a solid defensive performance with some increasingly effective passing.

Although we largely dominated the match today, as backed up by my dodgy stats below, I don’t feel we should pat ourselves too hard on the back as we lacked the passing play which had started to become a feature of some of our previous matches. Perhaps this was because the girls were adjusting to a different line up and to the increased numbers in play, which is understandable. I do think all the girls benefitted from the increased pitch time.

Freya making the ball safe.

A good end to the season.

Possession 1st half   70% – 30%

Possession 2nd Half  60% – 40%

Shots on target 4-1

Shots off target 9-2

U11 Clarets v Leighton United U11 Girls

This rather overcast Saturday found us at home for our last League match of the season, against Leighton.  The visitors’ team had been struck down with a bug so we agreed on 7v7; Leighton with no subs.

As Dean slowly scrunched up his Excel rota sheet upon which he had been working very intently, he quickly rejigged the plans to accommodate the smaller numbers and all seemed good until we realised there was still one girl too many !

Leighton were out of the blocks quicker but Scoobs, Ruby K and Tayla held firm at the back as usual, with Katie and Olivia in midfield and Jas up front.

Jas lining up for a shot.

Scoobs on the run.

As the game progressed, a carefully placed corner from Kitty found Izzy and she volleyed it into the net with the outside of her right foot; 1-0.

Kitty takes a corner.

Jas had a run at goal but on this occasion it went straight to the goalie. Later she put in a tremendous cross in front of the box to Scoobs whose boot just didn’t quite manage to connect with the ball. Charlotte too made a few storming runs up the wings and in the middle of the field but just couldn’t steer the ball beyond the Leighton defence into the goal.

 

Katie determined to keep the ball.

Kitty struck a belting shot later in the first half which rattled the post and was instrumental again in the second goal with another corner just deflecting off the Leighton keeper, back into her own net; 2-0.

In the second half, a long ball from the Leighton defender played to the feet of their forward who struck the ball home.  Leighton continued to fight on and Freya had to make the ball safe on a number of occasions.

In the last quarter Kitty, just inside the centre line, hit a high, speculative lob. Silence fell as gaping open-mouthed, we all watched the ball slowly but surely, loop towards the visitors’ goal where the keeper, who had had a great game, couldn’t quite manage to keep it out. Fantastic goal Kitty and possible goal of the season ?

Kitty making friends.

Parents’ Girl of the Match today was awarded to Mollie who had a tremendous game, outrunning her opponents on many occasions. A particularly excellent run down the right wing in the second half saw her skilfully out-manoeuvre her opponent with her trademark drag-back, and stride athletically towards goal.

Mollie juggling.

The girls should be congratulated on a good end to our league games for the season.

Total wins : 12    Total losses : 7  Total draws : 5   plus FA tournament win

Lionesses U11 Blues v Lionesses U11 Clarets

It was a busy Saturday morning at Crawley Road today as we lined up to play our sister team, the Lionesses Blues. We had no Katie and Kitty and Dean were donning their shades in the Derbyshire Dales this weekend, so Gary boldly took up the reins.

The Clarets started the quicker out the blocks, with some lovely passing between the girls. It wasn’t long before any nerves were settled, and Izzy found the back of the net, ably assisted by Olivia. 1-0.

The Clarets continued to dominate play, with any attempts at attack by the Blues quickly being reversed and they were soon rewarded with a second  goal; this time Izzy passing it to Jas who coolly placed the ball out of the goalie’s reach; 2-0.

The Blues came more into the game in the latter stages of the first half, with runs down the left wing, but our defensive line held firm and thwarted any chances for the opposition to get close on goal.

Again, the second half started with the Clarets reasserting their control on the game and some effective teamwork resulted in goal 3 as Izzy passed on to Olivia who struck it home.

We had the Kinns, Scoobs and Tayla in front of Freya today, with Olivia putting in a short stint too. Ruby K should be congratulated on what I thought was her best game of the season. I don’t think she lost a tackle and I definitely saw a flash of the speed I know she is capable of; even managing to get a shot in too. Well done.

Jas looking to put Izzy through.

Izzy and Jas working together.

Mollie ran her legs off, also rarely losing a tackle and frequently winning the ball in difficult situations, then either running it on or passing it accurately up the field with some lovely interplay between her and Izzy. Tayla played an intelligent game today; always goal side of any threats to Freya and contained the Blues’ strong forward for much of the game, which the lack of opposition shots on goal testify to.

Mollie determined to defend the ball.

Scoobs, captain for today, performed to her usual high standards, athletically intercepting and reversing the run of play. Freya was a firm pair of hands, although not tested often, she wasn’t afraid to dive on the ball, with accurate kicks out, using all of the available back line which made it harder for the opposition to read.

We had Jaz up front with a short stint from Charlotte who also covered mid field with Izzy and Olivia. Charlotte, I really thought, was on for a goal today but it just wouldn’t quite fall right. Some great pressing play up front and in mid field, with confidence growing throughout the match. You had a great game Charlotte.

Jas too had a terrific game, always putting herself into positions to receive the ball, intelligently laying it off, particularly to Izzy & making time for herself to get shots off which were inevitably accurate. She clearly benefited with the extra pitch time she had today – bodes well for next season Jas.

Charlotte attacking.

Izzy played a bit deeper but centrally today, linking well with many of the girls, notably Mollie, Jas & Olivia. She constantly terrorised the Blues’ defence with some jinking runs & or passes. (I’ve decided not to send her back to the shop).

Olivia looking for the through pass.

Olivia was the complete player today, interlinking well, particularly with Izzy & Jas. She also stood in for Tayla for a stint in defence. I don’t believe I have ever seen Olivia run as much as she did today. She was awarded with a goal & with the parents’ award for ‘Girl of the Match’. Supporter of the Match – if there was one – might have to go to her mum!

It was an outstanding team performance today and great to see that passing play, that we know we can do, come back into the fore. Well done girls.

..a spot of dad dancing…

Flitwick Eagles U11 Girls v U11 Clarets

Following a couple of weeks’ Easter break, the Clarets were drawn against Flitwick …. again, this weekend. Flitwick are always a pleasure to play but I am sure, like us, they would have welcomed a little variety in terms of opposition.

The weather couldn’t quite make up its mind with a few welcome rays warming us all sufficiently to tempt off our outer layers only to have us whipping them back on again within seconds.

The Lionesses started quicker out of the blocks than Flitwick, dominating play for the first 20 minutes which the stats bore out with us having many more shots on goal and corners. Kitty hit a spectacular shot which disappointingly belted off the bar and there was some particularity lovely interplay between Izzy & Olivia feeding some great passes on to both Kitty and later, Jaz.

Getting ready for the corner.

Flitwick however soon got their eye in and started to play the football we all know they can play which was rewarded with a goal after a mix up at our back (we need to work on ‘putting a name on that’). The first half finished 1-0.

While the girls were having their half-time oranges, I noticed a flicker of a smile across the faces of some of our supporters at the brief appearance of a lycra-clad gent on the pitch during the half-time break. Play soon resumed and Flitwick started the quicker in the second half.

We were very much on the back foot, with Freya admirably thwarting a number of strikes on goal though it wasn’t long before the relentless assault resulted in another goal for the Eagles. We did play ourselves back into the game in the latter part of the second half somewhat but the final whistle blew at 2-0. A deserved win for Flitwick – well done.

Olivia on the attack. A penny for your thoughts Gary….

Ruby K had a good game today, gaining in confidence all the time and putting in a particularly aggressive interception at one point which immediately turned our defence into attack. Combined with some well positioned passing and even out-manoeuvring one of Flitwick’s best players on one occasion, it was a good performance Ruby, keep it up. Mollie too pressed well and rose to the challenge of out-running some flying attacks down the wing. Kitty played strongly at the back for a while with some great distribution up the pitch and some shots on target when back in her usual position and, riding high on her winning goal against Flitwick a couple of weeks ago, Olivia almost scored again.

On the run …

Izzy was captain today and filled the role well, continually attacking, distributing the ball and running to help at the back when they were under pressure (…she’s earned her extra 5 mins on the ipad).

Parents struggled a little with determining Girl of the Match today but it was rightly awarded to Freya who was under pressure throughout and prevented the score line against us from being much higher.

It wasn’t to be today for Woburn but the girls fought a good battle and can hold their heads high; perhaps less so Charlotte’s dad who appeared to take a strike on the back of the head from a belting ball running wide on the pitch behind. Hard hat next time !

 

Beds Festival of Football v Tournament

                                                                 What a, in the words of Lou Reed, ‘perfect day’.

Our first game at the Bedfordshire Festival of Football drew us 9 v 9 against Flitwick (again…). It started in a similar vein to the previous outings ie. backs against the wall with the occasional foray into their half but, we clung on. The girls were cruelly disallowed a goal in the dying seconds, with the ball crossing into Flitwick’s goal just as the whistle blew. Perhaps though that had pushed some Karma our way for later in the tournament. Final score 0-0.

The next game saw us playing 8 v 8 against Mid Beds Tigers & after a suggestion from Gary, Dean rejigged the team a little. This time Woburn, I thought, dominated the game but it was still nail-biting stuff and could have gone either way; the game finishing again at 0-0.

The girls were clearly gaining momentum & were up for what could have been our final game against Leighton FC. Dean, continuing to mull things over, rejigged the team once more. We played well with a few near misses on goal and another pretty even, toughly fought match. It was still 0-0 when the whistle blew taking us (having conceded no goals) into the final against, you guessed it, Flitwick.

The momentum from the previous game continued to grow and with it, the girls’ confidence; we were proving a good opponent for Flitwick. However, as a result of a handball, Flitwick were awarded a penalty in the latter part of the second half. There was an intake of breath…

Admirably, Flitwick have a policy of not accepting a penalty & of passing the ball back to the goalie, which is what they did – an example of extraordinarily good sportsmanship – (a policy which I feel we should adopt). It was another edge-of-your-seat game and it ended 0-0. That meant ten minutes of extra time and a much-needed water break.

Woburn started to believe they had a chance and the girls had the bit between their teeth. As the clocked ticked Izzy (I think) passed to Olivia who fired the ball just beyond the goalie’s reach and into the right corner; 1-0. The girls were clearly ecstatic & we were screaming at them to try & remain focused. They did so brilliantly – closing the game out 1-0.  The Clarets had won the cup !

As a team, the girls showed great determination today, on all fronts. We definitely gained in confidence as the tournament progressed and it was lovely to see all the girls really wanting to battle on as far as they could. I shouldn’t single anyone out because it was very much a brilliant team effort but….well done Olivia on giving us all an excuse to exhale and, although the parents failed today by not awarding a girl of the match (I blame my other half), my award would go to Katie who persistently harried the opposition and fearlessly battled for the ball at every opportunity.

Enjoy your well-deserved Easter break.

Lionesses U11 Clarets v City Belles U11s

Spring has well and truly arrived ! How nice it was to have the sun finally shining down on us today as we lined up for a 9 v 9 friendly against City Belles.

We started off brightly and within a few minutes Jaz had narrowly hit the bar after a blinding shot over the goalie from left of goal and, for a second, I thought this boded well. The Belles however had different ideas and from that point onwards, really for much of the first half, they had us on the back foot.

For whatever reason our passing play was seldom to be seen and we resorted to a period of panic kicking up the pitch which inevitably proved fruitless. The City Belles took full advantage and it wasn’t long before their first goal thundered into the back of the net. They were awarded a penalty after a handball and as we held our breath, Freya rose admirably to the challenge facing her with a spectacular double save. Well done Freya !

The Belles however, continued to dominate. Izzy battled hard throughout, trying to bring Woburn back into the game but there was very little connecting play and the Belles scored twice again, in spite of Freya continuing to make some good saves. Ruby K had a good solid performance too in this half, making some good interceptions, block tackles and passes. Scoobs too continued her running game, in spite of sporting an injury.

Katie keeping possession.

Pile up.

Kitty on the run.

 

After some oranges and a chat, Woburn came out refreshed and started to play a slightly more controlled game for the third quarter although the opposition were still dominant. Our purple patch came really in the final quarter when there was change in formation and some great movement up pitch between Charlotte, Izzy, Kitty and Jaz. The whole team at this point were battling to try and get a goal and admirably didn’t drop their heads at all. Kitty and Jaz managed a couple more shots and Jaz demonstrated how to keep possession during a stint on the right wing although unfortunately, at that point, there was little by way of support.

Jaz in action.

Izzy surrounded.

 

In conclusion, the girls seemed to panic a bit today; at times it resembled a game of hot potato but thankfully by the closing stages we had found our passing play and determination again. City Belles were tough and skilful opposition and took a deserved win.

 

The parents’ Girl of the Match today was Freya for some great saves under pressure. Izzy was voted GOM by the opposition.

 

Tony’s even dodgier stats than usual :

Possession first half 3070

Possession second half 4060

Shots on target 47

Shots off target 33

Corners 58

Lionesses U11 Clarets v Leighton United U11 Girls

It was a mild, overcast morning at WGS as the parents appeared, bleary-eyed after being forced from their beds perhaps just that little bit earlier than normal. The girls however, were rearing to go. The pitch, though dry, was bumpy which was to result in some unpredictable balls today.

The starting line-up comprised Talya, Mollie and Ruby in front of Freya, with Olivia and Izzy in midfield, with Kitty up front.

Kitty launching high.

Olivia, captain today, took the score to 1-0 four minutes into the first half after an assist by Kitty, rolling the ball calmly past the goalie into the bottom corner.

Olivia about to strike.

Possession seemed largely in the home team’s favour with Izzy breaking through the Leighton team several times in the first 15 minutes and Woburn benefitting from a number of corners.

Charlotte (opposing some of her school mates today) was definitely up for it, combining nicely with Izzy & coming close to getting a goal after several attempts; it will come soon Charlotte! Her persistent efforts were rightly rewarded by the parents with Charlotte being elected today’s Girl of the Match.

Mollie looking for the pass.

Leighton came out refreshed in the second half, in spite of only having one sub and no permanent goalie, and were clearly keen to equalize.

Clarets’ defence, in its various configurations, largely performed well, as indicated by my dodgy stats below.

Mollie looking comfortable.

Mollie looked comfortable winning many battles for the ball and Ruby put in some well-placed passes, increasing in her confidence to get to the ball first. There was an audible intake of breath in the closing stages when Leighton’s determination to score put our defence under pressure but Tayla managed to make a last-minute interception to make the ball safe.

Talya on the run.

Kitty and Olivia both covered stints at the back today too and it was a credit to the defence that Freya had little to do again but made a crucial save when required to keep the score line in Woburn’s favour.

Izzy worked her socks off today, continuing to break through the Leighton team on many occasions and combining well with other players wherever possible, particularly Charlotte.

Izzy battling through.

A well-directed corner from Kitty three minutes into the second half landed at Izzy’s feet but a high bounce saw her hoofing it over the bar. Katie came on in midfield in the second half with great enthusiasm, working hard and almost scoring with a high shot.

Jaz although only present for a short time today, after taking in the sights of Leighton Buzzard, made her mark by scoring late in the second half, following an assist by Kitty. Jaz is continuing to impress up front, interconnecting well with her team mates and getting some strong, accurate, shots off.

Jaz battling hard.

Just a note for the girls, late tackles are typically unintentional and will occasionally happen but when they do, it is important that apologies are made and a handshake offered (which I am pleased to say is normally the case).

Leighton showed great determination but it was another win for Woburn; well done girls. (We should hear about play-offs after next weekend’s games).

Stats:

Possession 1st half: 6535

Possession 2nd half: 6040

Shots on target: 51

Shots off target: 72

Corners: 142

Lionesses U11 Clarets Flitwick Eagles U11 Girls

There was definitely a hint of Spring in the air this morning as we prepared to play Flitwick at our home ground.

We knew the game would be tough and I have to say it developed very early on into a match of blue and white against the Woburn defence; we had our backs against the wall.

The attack on our goal started from the whistle and I think caught our girls day dreaming a little. Izzy managed a great run down the left side and put in a lovely cross but unfortunately the strikers couldn’t take advantage and play quickly returned to the Woburn half.

Izzy looking for options.

Flitwick took a deserved lead early on, 1-0.

Flitwick had a strong midfield who dominated the middle of the pitch and were able to take advantage of the gaps which opened up in ours, enabling them to launch attack after attack. (If you refer to my dodgy stats below you will see that Flitwick had 14 corners to our 3).

There was much less evidence of the passing play we have been working on perhaps because the girls were clearly under pressure. While looking through the photos it became apparent, particularly in midfield, how frequently Woburn were surrounded by Flitwick players.

Katie battling.

Midfield struggled today with the game becoming stretched and any interplay being minimal – Flitwick were particularly strong there but also, on occasion, Woburn were too pedestrian – that is simply not something we can get away with. Skill and athleticism are important but, above all, determination is what is needed.

That said, there were some excellent performances from defence as a whole who kept us in the game and were under pressure throughout the entire match. Scoobs in particular was brilliant and, in my opinion, deserved the parents’ award of Girl of the Match. I know Tayla felt mistakes were made by defence but I think they can be forgiven due to the amount of pressure they were under.

Mollie taking control.

I would like to compliment Charlotte too on another very good performance. She went for it from the off, showed some good skill in taking on the opposition and great determination, not giving up in pursuit of the ball. Well done.

Charlotte determined in spite of being surrounded.

Jaz had a great game; always making herself available to receive the ball and holding onto it and redistributing intelligently. With three shots on target and the final one just alluding the keeper she took the game to 1-1 in the latter stages of the first half.

Jaz on the attack.

Jaz strikes…

Not wanting to sound wholly negative, it is worth mentioning that Flitwick managed very few shots on target and in the second half we had a spell of possession which did put them under pressure. Our defence were so successful at keeping us in the game that, in spite of lacking in some areas, the score line could just have easily have gone either way. Towards the end though, play reverted back to our half and we all breathed somewhat of a sigh of relief when Gary finally decided to blow the whistle which he had held to his lips for what had felt like an eternity!

We were lucky to hold on to 1-1.

Tony’s questionable stats…

  • Possession 1st half  30% 70%
  • Possession 2nd half 40% – 60%
  • Shots on target 5 2
  • Shots off target  2 1
  • Corners 3 – 14