Superb Away Victory Against Crookham Rovers
Alice and Millie Star in Wonderful Exhibition of Attacking Football
Crookham Rovers 3 The Orange Army 6!
After last week's epic cup tie it was comforting to see the Colne Valley Under 1s back in our favoured colours of orange today. Was also great to welcome back Emily Hutt who had been busy becoming the National and UK BMX champion, well done Emily. Emily adds real tenacity and power to our uber-talented forward line and will really will have goals flying in from everywhere once everyone fully understands everyone else's strengths and weaknesses. Emily is very much the Ian Wright to Evie's Thierry Henry.
We had a squad of 16 today. Rachel, enjoying a quietly spectacular start to the season, was in goal, the back 4 consisted of Mighty Mia Baker at left back, Hannah Jimenez (new club captain) at centre back alongside Poppy (new vice captain) with Lyssie at right back. The full backs were given carte blanche to really use the pace and stamina that they both possess in abundance to get up and down their wings and really support the players in front of them. After her storming performance of last week Erin held her place in the centre of midfield. Regarding Erin, one of Sir Alex Ferguson's favourite all-time United players is Dennis Irwin, the reason being was that every single game that Irwin played he knew that he put in, at least, an 8 out of 10 performance and that - at the very least - he'd always do his best and get the better of his opposition player. Erin has very quickly become the team's Dennis Irwin; a wonderful model of consistency. Rhea lined up alongside Erin and put in a very solid, unselfish and hard-working performance in the engine room, once again, well done Rhea!! Layla Best was on the left and Millie Springer on the right.
Up front we started with Aguero and Henry..................or Alice and Evie to their parents. Alice continues to delight the crowd, if there was 40,000 watching The Orange Army (only a matter of time!!) there can be no doubt that Alice would be a firm favourite of the fans. It's not just the non-stop effort, it's the clearly visible feistiness and end product that the team gets from her. A slight doubt the coach had was "but how good is her finishing?" well today that question was emphatically answered by a thumping hat-trick. Evie would be loved by the fans too, well they all would, they'd all had a terrace anthem but Evie possesses that rare gift of being completely calm when she has a chance, her chance to goal ration is fantastic and today she bagged a brace. Making it 9 for the season and let's remember that she has only started 1 game.
Again we had a very strong bench. Beth and Cookie provided the defensive cover, Caitlin the creativity, Emily the forwards and Morgz covered the left and right wings.
Crookham are a well coached team, they could all head it, where we struggle a bit and they held their shape well. I think it fair to say that they could not match us for skill, pace of finishing ability.......plus we had the better keeper. It was a game played in the very best of spirit and The Orange Army were genuinely excellent. The girls are really finding their feet and are beginning to understand their positions and the need to be flexible. I'd like the formation to be fluid, it's great having a few players that can play equally well in a number of different spots. Lyssie and Mia are great examples of this. Over the last two games Mia ahs played, at various times, at: left back, up front and at centre half and has looked equally at home in all, Lyssie has played, right back, right midfield, centre midfield and left midfield over the same period.
Everyone played their part, yet again, Erin dropped into centre half as she'll be covering for Hannah there next week and looked both assured and robust. It's also very evident just how much of a calming influence Poppy has on the team, she's a cool as a cucumber centre half is Poppy and she's great, no moaning, no shouting just reliability, great ability and a stellar work-rate. Herself and Hannah work very well together, long may that continue. It has also not gone unnoticed the giant strides that Bethie and Cookie are making, Cookie, when she focuses on her game and does not get distracted has the potential and ability to become a top-notch full back, it's the spot where she wants to play and she has the tools to really nail it. Take all the compliments on board Cookie and listen to all the well-intentioned advice and you'll have a storming season.
So 6-3 it was, some brilliant goals scored, the pick of them being - arguably - Emily's screamer in the second half into the top corner. Alice scored a hat-trick and then was immediately taken off...........meant she got the devotion she deserved and Caitlin never fails to make me smile by continuing to be an artist and paint these amazing pictures when everyone else is getting tired and the game becomes a bit ragged, what a talent she is but today was very much about some of the team's more unsung heroes, in all my years being involved in this most simple and beautiful of games I've always had the hugest of respect for players that come along and make certain they do their bit for their team, by rolling up their sleeves and really giving 100 per cent, in The Orange Army that's your Beths, Rheas, Erins, Mias, Laylas and Cookies of this world. Watching Layla give everything to keep the ball in play on the left, or Rhea put in tackle after tackle and block after block gives me as much pleasure as to watch as one of Caitlin's incredible passes, Alice's breakaway runs of Evie's cool finishes. We're fast becoming a great team and we're getting better.................with every game.
Alice was superb today but the man of the match goes to Millie Springer. Sometimes in games you just have to gain a player's attention and say "well done" I found myself doing that 4 or 5 times to Millie today. As she's worked harder in training and gained her confidence her role in the squad has grown, she defends the near post brilliantly at corners, her, Lyssie and Emily are our three best in the air in the squad and she has this ability to launch defence splitting passes either from deep or from the wing where the natural curl she puts on them, at perfect pace, creates so many chances for her team mates. Seriously great performance Mille "Boing Boing" Springer, hope you get to read this, you have a great attitude, just keep it up.
So Twickenham Cygnets next week, Rachel away on a netball PGL trip so Hannah will go in goal. Well done again everyone but as said after the game there is always room for improvement............with that in mind....................please be prepared for heading practice at training on Tuesday.
Thanks to All.................................ORANGE ARMY!!