Thumping Hutt Header Seals the Points
Great Comeback from The Orange Army in Difficult Conditions
Colne Valley Girls Under 14s 2 Twickenham Cygnets 1
Another Sunday another classic match to report on. What a side The Orange Army are becoming, today we were without our storming little goalkeeper so we had to jiggle things around a bit. Her big sister volunteered to go "between the sticks" and Erin dropped into central defence alongside the wonderfully consistent Poppy. The coach has decided that Erin is at her best when she is very much "in the thick of it", I knew she would do a great job in the heart of defence.................and she did. With Cookie at right back and Beth on the left the back 4 had a strong look to it.
Our midfield consisted of, Morgan on the right, Layla on the left with Lyssie and Caitlin in midfield. Up front we fielded Emily Hutt
and Evie Cann
. Our bench was ridiculously strong: Alice, Rhea, Millie, Mia and Lucy.
We played Twickenham twice last year and won 10-0 and 6-0, they had 2 teams last season, this year they have merged those 2 teams into 1 and are much stronger as a result. It looked as though they lined up with 5 across the back so I a imagine there tactics were be to soak up some pressure and that hit us on the break. They certainly came across as a very decent bunch of girls with a very fair-minded coach, it made for a great game.
Hannah seemed to have much more to do than I was expecting, she seemed to have her hands on the ball a lot with the ball being in our half more than theirs. I think we may have - myself included - under-estimated Twickenham, the skiddy surface meant that the ball seemed to slide under an Orange Army boot too often and we didn't seem able to string a few passes together. The endeavor was clearly there but the end product wasn't. Twickenham took a shock lead that clearly rattled The Orange Army, don't think anyone was really expecting it but fair play to them, they were making things really difficult for us.
The beauty of having such a talented bench is that the pack an easily be shuffled. Millie was brought on to the right and she adds calmness and quality passing does Millie. Carrying on from last week Millie picked up the ball in midfield, expertly found Evie in space and Evie did the rest, finishing with her usual calmness. Evie really is an expert finisher. So 1-1 it was at half-time. As coach I lamented the lack of shots that were having, I could only remember 2, the one that Evie scored from and one from distance from Mille.
If we are going to mount a serious challenge for the league title then these are games that we have to win. Poppy and Erin were looking very solid at the back but the instructions were to really look to pass the ball, to slow the game down rather than hurry it up and let's look to make passes to Orange shirts. further changes saw all the subs brought on. Alice added her usual blend of commitment and talent, Quinny really looked to put her foot on the ball and spray it around and Rhea and Mia added solidity and passion. We started to win our headers and tackles, we became the dominant team and chances began to fall to us. Quinny and Caitz had great shots from distance, Lys and Millie worked tirelessly down our channels. Caitz's corner were superb but no one seemed quite able to get on to the end of them. Evie broke through expertly a couple of times and poked her shots agonizingly wide. I believed that Twickenham would settle for a draw, that they'd only score the one goal. We needed to win. With that in mind a tactical decision was made, the rock like Erin took a well deserved breather and Caitz came back on and we switched to 3-5-2 with the huge trust handed to the highly impressive trio of: Cookie, Rhea and Poppy to keep it tight at the back, with Caitz and Quinny in front of them playing more or less as quarterbacks. Those two have talent and technique in spades and it's always exciting to see them with the ball at their feet to see if they can conjure up some magic, and fair play to them they tried everything. But it began to seem as though it just wasn't going to happen. Still Caitz swung in her excellent corners .
I'd began to suspect that if someone was going to get her head on a Caitz corner it would be The Hutt, after her roller-coaster of a comeback game last week where she combined WWF wrestling with a wonderful goal it was great to see her at her buccaneering best today, playing slightly deeper than usual, with 6 minutes to go we won yet another corner, again Caitz swung it in brilliantly, Emily set herself, composed herself and sent the ball flying into the back of the net with a header as thumping as you could possibly imagine. Brilliant, brilliant stuff, from 2 completely different but equally effective players. The Famous Five, or the "Cavalry" as I call them that have come down from last year's under 14s have been absolutely fantastic all season and have breathed fresh air into our lungs, thank you Evie, Alice, Erin, Rhea and Poppy but, equally, from the coach's point of view, there was something joyous about the winning goal being created and then buried by 2 players that were absolutely fantastic in our title winning team last season. There is no reason why we can't score a number of similar goals over the course of the season.
So all that heading in training really paid off, Lyssie won all her headers as did Erin and Millie. Millie and Cailin took in to real extremes by each taking thunderous balls to the face (I did take a bit of pride from the pair of them staying on their feet, remaining dry eyed and refusing to come off).
There was still time for us to win another corner and for me to witness Poppy galloping up the pitch like a runaway winner approaching the final furlong of the Grand National...................."Get Back" was boomed with more gusto than when The Beatles performed their final gig at the Apple studios somewhere in London back in the day. Poppy promptly got back and we saw out the game as 2-1 winners.
Huge "fair play" to all the fans that braved the elements and cheered on the army, I love the support. So that's 5 league games and we have 13 points out of a possible 15 and we've won our last 4 league games. The squad is looking fantastic. Today was a hard fought win against a side that will pick up points as the season progresses. We go into half term on top of THE LEADER BOARD!!
Well done to all, great behavior and attitude showed today, well done for keeping going and showing belief and well done too, to Twickenham Cygnets for playing their part in a great game of football.
As for man of the match, The Orange Army is truly blessed to have our nutty little keeper and she was missed today, for Hannah to give up a game on pitch to cover for her is an example of one of the reasons why she is now the captain of the side. So Hannah is today's man of the match..........but she'll share it with Poppy. As I try my very hardest to make it fair to everyone I also want to win matches, Poppy played the entire game today, simply as she was playing so well I couldn't take her off. Well done Poppy! Well done everyone.............no game next week as it's half term............what will we do with ourselves?