Thatcham Tornadoes Under 12 girls away to Shinfield Rangers
Last game of the year in the crisp winter sun.
With Rhianna as captain after her great effort at training last night, we won the kick off and started strong winning a corner. For a few minutes we lost our heads, chasing the ball and kicking without purpose, but amidst the scuffle Poppy was able to receive the ball in the middle of the attacking half and send it swiftly and cleanly over the other players and into the goal for an excellent first goal.
Daisy was in goal first for the Tornadoes, supported by Bo, Rhianna and Charlotte at the back. Abi took the left wing with Ruby coming out of her comfort zone and agreeing to play right wing. Poppy was in the centre and Sophie and Evie worked together up front.
The girls took a while to remember the basics of good football and struggled to keep possession despite some good football in isolation. Sophie made a really focussed attack that bought her head to head with the keeper, she used some good quality footwork and great ball protection skills to help her team keep possession.
It wasn't long before Poppy took another shot that didn't make it past the keeper, however when the keeper couldn't hold the ball, Evie was there to knock it into the goal for our 2nd goal.
After the re-start we were slow to remember the basics again, but Ruby shone, making a long run down the wing with the ball, demonstrating her increasing skill and confidence. At this point I wrote 'faffing' in my notebook, as I was a little bit frustrated by some of the missed opportunities to control and pass the ball, but fear not, things improved, the girls talked and Charlotte made a great recovery run to prevent an attack on our goal!
A free kick was awarded against us at this point and although it wasn't clear why, the girls organised themselves quickly and it was Ruby who was positioned well to release the ball and keep us out of immediate danger. The ball was still in our half at this point and it fell to Bo to wade in with an excellent spinning tackle, great strength Bo!
At this point the decent football began. Charlotte made a beautiful, well timed switch to Ruby, who ran the ball forward and crossed to Evie who fought hard to keep the ball and as it was tackled off her, Poppy stepped in and scored a great left footed goal for our third. Now we were in our stride and easily won the ball from the Shinfield kick off, Abi making a decent run and an accurate pass to Sophie who placed the ball in the goal for our 4th.
Shinfield had the chance to come back and when a skilled player broke away with the ball, Ruby sprinted back to cover and support. Daisy chose to play Sweeper and positioned herself well to clear the ball at the edge of the box on several occasions.
A Shinfield corner lead to some confusion in the area, but Rhianna worked hard to see off three defenders and make a good clearance and Bo fended off a rogue attacker using her strength and speed again. Rhianna was in the firing line again soon and was able to clear two shots at goal with her volley - great work Rhi! The defence team were all in action at this point and started to support each other well. Charlotte's ability to control and switch the ball was invaluable in finally getting the ball away.
As the ball was returned by Daisy into the Shinfield half, Evie and Sophie both had some close attempts at goal, then Sophie made a brilliant cross from the right, which Abi read well and struck into the goal and very shortly after I have written 'same again' Great work girls!
I wrote a lot less in the second half as the sun went in and my hands began to freeze! Daisy swapped with Sophie and came out to play. Our first shot in the second half came from Evie, but was well received by the keeper. Poppy covered the pitch well and fell back to support the defenders well. Charlotte and Abi had some good quality interplay and we relaxed into a more confident, passing game. Daisy used skill and timing to hold the ball, waiting for the opportunity to switch to Abi. Abs made a well timed pass to Poppy who took the opportunity to shoot long again, only to be beaten by the keeper this time.
At this point the team seemed focussed and 'on the ball'! Sophie was providing great vocal support and encouragement from the goal. Poppy Abi and Charlotte demonstrated some really good quality interplay using the space on the field well to bring the ball into the area and ultimately winning a corner.
Our 7th goal was scored by Daisy who took her time to place the ball after receiving a great cross from Abi. Daisy then moved back into defence to allow Bo the opportunity to play at the front.
Some more great interplay between Abi and Poppy helped us keep possession and move the ball forward, Ruby then had two opportunities, which were close, but did not go in, great effort Ruby! Just before the whistle we scored goals 8 (Poppy) and 9 (Daisy).
It sounds harsh to say that this wasn't our best performance, but the girls know that the cohesion wasn't always there today! It is important that they are able to play football at the same standard in all matches and not relax because they feel they have an easy match.... we will work on this!
I challenged some girls today (Rhianna, Bo and Ruby) to step outside their comfort zones and despite the nerves they stepped up well. I was particularly impressed with Ruby, who seemed ready for the challenge and has the strength speed and determination to play on the wing. She kept her cool and grew into the role as the match went on. For this reason and for being a great warm up coach, Ruby was player of the match today - Nice one Rubes!!
Thanks to all parents for helping so much this half of the season, we will have more away games next half! Great lino-ing today Dave, Grant and Carol. A