Caversham visit defending champions Wargrave
Caversham visit defending champions Wargrave
Caversham visited Wargrave in their first competitive game against the team that has dominated the BCGFL in this age group since it started. As defending league champions, they have won everything over the years having gained a reputation for physical, high intensity football and they are a strong and intimidating team to face. However, with all players in the league now beginning to reach physical maturity, Wargrave no longer have it all their own way as the other teams have caught up physically and now look to outwit their direct style. Having already lost to Wokingham and Laurel Park this season Wargrave now look likely to miss the end of season BCGFL presentation day for the first time. With this in mind Caversham travelled to their toughest fixture of the season on paper with trepidation, but not without hope. The scene was set early in the game when the referee had to have stern words after studs where left up in a follow through on Serena after she have gathered the ball. However, Serena is made of stern stuff and continued on to have a fantastic game in goal for Caversham despite having to deal with a number of challenging one on ones. Wargrave continued to exploit their physical strength, taking the game to its legal boundaries and occasionally over them which resulted in some of Caversham's best early opportunities coming from dead ball situations.
Caversham stood up to the physical side of the game well with Daisy showing some excellent physical commitment after being taken out on the side line and ending up in amongst the Wargrave coaching staff in the second half and Evie riding a scything challenge late on that brought more words from the referee. Caversham also showed their own physicality with Grace and Maud showing they can give as good as they get ans they set about winning possession in front of the defence. Player of the match Grace had an outstanding game in front of the back four of Martha, Niamh, debutant Lally and Lianna. With few opportunities from either side in the first quarter, Leonie replaced Martha who then subsequently replaced Maud and Caversham began to craft some fantastic passing moves as half time approached. Josie, Daisy, Evie and Ruby worked some good moves supplied by Grace and Martha against Wargrave's high line back three and when Daisy looked to have unlocked the off-side trap a marginal flag decision saved her blushes as she put her shot wide when one on one with the Wargrave keeper.
Depsite Caversham pressing high and winning a lot of possession Wargrave looked dangerous throughout especially from a Delpa-esque long throw and some pinpoint corners that had the Caversham defence in trouble every time. However, every time Wargrave did break, the pace of Lally closed down the danger in what was a very impressive performance on her debut. So with Caversham looking to have held out at 0-0 and arguably created the best chance of the game, they were to be undone on the stroke of half time when a lack of concentration saw the ball creep past Serena after pinging around in the Caversham penalty area. Strangely there was no celebration from Wargrave as they returned to the centre spot, perhaps an indication that the Caversham performance was better than they had anticipated.
After half time Wargrave came out strong and with the break appearing to have subdued Caversham it looked like Wargrave might take the game away from them. However, the Caversham defence rode the storm and with some good fortune the game remained at 1-0 as Caversham began to rediscover their passing game. With instructions to try and play over the back three some half chances were created although the Caversham forwards were always struggling to match the pace of the Wargrave back line. The best chance of the game fell to Daisy when a perfect through ball gave her a couple of yards on the defender, but the Wargrave keeper was sharp off her line and blocked the shot as Daisy tried to toe poke it around her at full stretch.
The game was won midway through the second half when a cross found the Wargrave striker on top of Serena. It was hard to see how she could be so close to the Caversham keeper without being off-side, but the flag stayed down as the ball was bundled in from inside the six yard box. A third goal came late on when a corner went through Serena's hands and landed at the feet of the Wargrave striker. It was tough on Serena who had a had a great game and left a scoreline that Caversham would have been happy with at the start, but somewhat flattered Wargrave at the end.
So in summary, a game where Caversham put in an immense performance as they continue to experience football of a much higher standard in division 1, but also one that they can build on as they seek to end the recent goal drought and put some points on the board in their next two games.