An understrength Marlow show true grit and get a deserved 3 points away from home.
Before the match a minute silence was observed by all those in attendance and Marlow wore black armbands as a mark of respect.
Marlow made a long trip to Brickhill for a league encounter minus a few players due to schools football and Lena being unwell. Keith was therefore down to a bare 7 players with no subs available, It meant with this in mind Keith reorganised the side with Paige in goal, Maddie and Lottie in defence, Soapy, Sam and Scarlett in midfield and Rosie taking the strikers role. This showed a great squad commitment from the girls. With the sun shining like a spring day the game kicked off with Marlow starting the brighter out of the two sides. In the 3rd minute a strong break by Sam who played it to Soapy, whose shot just went wide. Marlow continued to apply the pressure and a good move started from the back found Rosie with space in front of goal but unfortunately her shot was saved by the Brickhill keeper. With a little bit more thought on the final pass, Marlow should have been leading but a quick break from Brickhill caught Marlow napping but for a great tackle by Maddie it could have been a scary moment. This seemed to have been the wake up call that Marlow needed as the ball found Sam whose pass to Soapy put her through on goal. A good strike by Soapy forced a good save from the Brickhill keeper. From the resulting corner Scarlet received the ball and beat the keeper into the bottom right hand corner. Scarlett showed great composure and Marlow deserved their 9th minute lead.
Straight from the kick off Marlow applied the pressure and every one of them were closing down their opposition forcing mistakes with Lottie and Maddie stifling anything Brickhill could conjure up and protecting Paige who when called upon was quick to come out of her goal to collect the ball with an opposition player bearing down.
From a Marlow goal kick the ball was played through the middle of the park with Sam and Soapy exchanging passes. The ball finally fell to Rosie whose quick shot caught the Brickhill keeper by surprise and Marlow were 2 up after 15 minutes. At this point some of the parents thought the girls would go on to score a few more goals but all credit to Brickhill who raised their game and came back at Marlow very strongly, In the 18th minute from a Brickhill throw on, Marlow couldn’t clear the danger and a fierce shoot from the Brickhill striker gave Paige no chance.
From the resulting kick off Soapy went on a mazy run down the line and was tackled by a defender resulting in Soapy picking up a knock on her knee. With this happening Marlow were grateful for the half time whistle to be blown allowing Keith to reorganise again, due to Soapy’s injury.
In the 2nd half Brickhill found some renewed confidence and put Marlow under some early pressure with Paige making a good save at the feet of the Brickhill striker. Marlow were still trying to find the balance from the reshuffle. Maddie and Lottie were being called into action with good strong challenges to keep Brickhill at bay. After a scary battle for the ball in midfield the ball fell at Maddie’s feet at the half way line, her powerful shot just missed the Brickhill goal. This seemed to give confidence to Marlow who then raised their game and after some battling by Lottie, who won a through in deep into Brickhill’s half. From the resulting throw in Sam received the ball turned her defender and fired in a crisp shoot which took a slight deflection, beating the keeper. This gave Marlow a little breathing space who then relaxed and played some good football. Rosie was close with a shot on goal which was well saved by the keeper. Marlow were now in full flow with Soapy driving the ball down the right wing causing Brickhill some more worrying moments. With all the girls working really hard they began to tire, as there were no subs available on what seemed quite a big pitch, In the 35th minute Sam picked up the ball in midfield, beat 3 players before crossing for Scarlet whose 1st shot cannoned off the foot of the Brickhill post. The ball broke to a Brickhill player who found one of her attackers who seemed to be odd’s on to score but some super defending by Maddie and Lottie saved an almost certain goal. Marlow certainly needed another goal to secure the victory and after a good kick up the pitch by Paige, Rosie found herself unmarked in front of goal and her thunderous shot made the Brickhill net bulge. Keith was forced to change keepers with Soapy’s knee getting worse but what an effort Soapy had put in. Paige came out on the pitch and slotted in nicely into midfield even having a shot at goal. Marlow then took their foot of the pedal and allowed Brickhill back into the game who had plenty of fresh subs and in the 39th minute with Marlow causing their own problems, the ball broke loose to the Brickhill attackers whose 1st time shot gave Soapy no chance. This was practically the last effort from both sides with the final whistle being blown shortly afterwards.
All the girls having given 100% effort and deservedly picking up their 2nd league win of the season with Rosie picking up player of the match award for her 2 goals. Paige was solid in goal and gets better with every game. Lottie was strong and dependable in defence, who never backs off a tackle. Soapy’s great play down the wing was always a threat. Scarlett always willing to receive the ball and deservedly bagged a goal. Sam with her excellent ball control at her feet and her decisive 3rd goal worked extremely hard and Maddie who covered every blade of grass fierce in the tackles and put in a real shift. It was a really good team performance full of commitment, passion and skill.
On a personal note, please forgive me if I left anything out – normal service will be resumed next week with the return of Pat !
By Karl McKenzie