Brilliant defending. Sorry, if you keep playing like that you're not coming off!
At the start of the day there were two teams that remained unbeaten in Div 4 NW(S) since Christmas. They were both South teams… and they were due to face each other in the 13.30 pushback: the respective war paints were on. The 2s were playing for the pride of their perfect record, whereas the 3s were playing for some much-needed points to assist their final finish position.
From the first whistle the 3s were putting on the pressure, much to the seeming surprise of our opposition. The reaction took the form of a mis-timed tackle that produced a nice gouge out of Tuffers' right knee (speaking as the person who patched it up multiple times after the blood soaked through!) Our forwards had made a couple forays into the 2s’ defence already at this point. Rhi sent the ball out from our defensive twenty-three for Zara to pick up and carry to near their twenty-three and slip the ball at just the right moment for Kath to sweep one-on-one with the keeper! Everyone loves an underdog? The guttural roar that went up as the first goal was scored by the 3s to go one-nil up was immense! Yay!
Shortly after this, Jas carried the ball through their defence again and was then completely flattened by the keeper to win a flick! Oh, the excitement! Chance of going two-nil up… The 3s’ Achilles’ heel: NO-ONE likes taking flicks… But Rhi boldly steps up and unfortunately it’s saved by the keeper.
The 2s came back a bit towards the tail end of the half. With two minutes left on the clock they had a short corner, but no fear, Lauren is here, to clear wide to the right sideline. Not long after, thankfully the whistle went for half time. One-nil to the 3s!
Surely this cannot be maintained? Or could David truly hold Goliath at bay? Half-time instructions were essentially, ‘Keep being fabulous, ladies!’
The 2s came out firing on all cylinders, scoring shortly into the second half, Rebecca driving a shot from open play from the top of D. One-all. The score remained this way for the majority of the second half. The 2s pressure mounted with a fifteen minute period where they had about a million-and-one short corners, all of which were adsorbed with impressive cool, calm, collective effectiveness by our defence, who had largely not subbed at all! Kudos! Keeper Ana making numerous saves that impressed some of the top goalscorers in the ladies’ side of the club.
The conclusion of this period involved defensive superstar, Lauren, being double-teamed by Izzy and Hannah, with the ball slipped to Hannah to score a second. Damn! We’d been doing so well. Simultaneously, Erin’s knee was hit by a stray stick resulting in her being carried off the pitch. Down to just a single sub now. Following this, there was a lovely example of experience vs youth, a reverse stick block tackle from Louisa halting a speed attack by Izzy E. This triggered a resurgence by the 3s in the final ten minutes, returning it to the competitive game that it had been earlier.
The final whistle went, two-one to the 2s. An absolutely fabulous team performance, to hold the league champions to their most conservative league result all season, just shows how far this team has come since September! We’ve been progressively improving as the season has gone on; the results speak for themselves. Despite being devastated that I couldn’t play this game, especially when we only had three defenders available, I could not be more proud of my team today! Our opposition were disappointed in their performance, but we couldn't have been more pleased with ours!
After a performance like that I decreed that multiple MoM votes were permitted; the ultimate winner being our keeper, Ana (with eight votes), who arguably had her best performance of the season; second was Lauren (with seven votes) for a sterling performance in defence; Rhi, Louisa, Ani and Irina also received two votes each, then Zara, Jas and Kath with one a piece. LoM was Hannah, for a selection of reasons ranging from arriving late coz she was chatting for too long and attempting to sub back onto the pitch without her stick…