Under 12 girls vs Thatcham Town Blues
The local rivals meet again for another nail biter!
It was a joy to have a full team today, all excited and raring to go! We re-visited marking in training last night in anticipation of Thatcham Town's strength - passing and moving into space.
Sophie was first up in goal, supported by Bo, Ruby and Charlotte in defence. Poppy played in the centre, flanked by wingers Daisy and Beau. Abi and Holly were our first strikers.
Town had the kick off, but we quickly won possession and Daisy, Poppy, Beau and Abi worked well together to move the ball around to create space. We were soon jolted into action at the back when Thatcham Town broke away and passed skilfully to beat our midfield. After two attempts on our goal we won the ball back and Daisy crossed to Beau who took her first shot that went just wide. Abi and Holly made some wise passes and Poppy worked as hard as usual, filling gaps and reading the game well.
A cross from Poppy gave Beau the opportunity to attack again, but she was fended off by the determined Town defence. Our girls did not lose focuss for a second so it was only a matter of time before Poppy put away our first goal, assisted by Daisy. Poppy used her great timing and precision to identify a gap and smash the ball home - Well done Poppy!
Town came back with determination and a lovely passing sequence, only momentarily outwitting Bo before she came back like a whirlwind to protect the goal and prevent an attack. Ruby was there to support and acted with characteristic cool, bringing the ball into space before accurately switching to the wingers. Holly was able to make several good choices with the ball, turning towards the goal when she had space to do so and passing when she didn't.
The play was fast and changed direction frequently. The Tornadoes worked as a great team and I am particularly enjoying the relationship between Charlotte and Beau on pitch as Charlotte speeds after the opposition to retrieve the ball, bringing it to Beau who completes the run of the pitch time and time again, great teamwork girls!
Evie and Rhianna came on as striker and defender respectively. Both were keen to join the game and played confidently and with great determination. Evie had her first touch almost immediately when Ruby bought the ball forward and passed on to Evie before falling back to recover as the play headed into our half again. Rhianna put great pressure on approaching wingers making it impossible for them to pass into play.
Towards the end of the first half Kiana came on in defence and confidently dealt with an attack in her first few seconds on the pitch. Kiana played with skill and confidence and it was a pleasure to see her make such a successful debut with the team - well done Kiana!
There was way too much action to record in this half including some free kicks and corners, a couple of attempts on goal and a few panicked moments! When Chloe came on she focussed really well on the marking and space agenda controlling the ball well and making an accurate pass with enough pace to reach Daisy and keep the ball in our possession...... and then the whistle blew!
The second half bought more excitement, starting with one of Beau's powerful runs up the wing, but quickly turning into an attack against us. Both Kiana and Bo challenged hard with Bo making a strong recovery run to prevent disaster and Kiana bringing the ball forward into space to make a great pass and keep possession.
We saw some top quality interplay between Sophie, Beau and Abi, who was now back on the wing and within her comfort zone. Poppy received the ball in the middle and took her chances with a shot which sadly went high, but within minutes after some excellent passing and putting a lot of stress on the Town defence, the goal keeper came out confidently, but missed the ball allowing Sophie to cooly control the ball and place it in the goal - Excellent timing and awareness Sophie!
All we had to do now was to hold the score and the girls gave everything they could in the last 10 minutes. Daisy came out of goal to sweep on the right, but ran back to recover when the ball came straight back after her clearance. We ended the game with Sophie working hard to come and get the ball, utilising Bo for support and Evie tackling hard against one of the toughest opponents!
So we held them off again, with a higher margin than I can remember against Town! I am super proud as always of the team spirit, the skill and the determination of my amazing bunch of girls. There was no complacency for a minute today and nobody was away with the fairies! Player of the match was Bo who has stepped up another notch and was putting her whole mind and body into her challenges today. Bo's speed and bravery are growing week on week and she gives all she has got each week! Well done Bo!
Thanks to those who helped to set up (especially Blue), thanks for packing away so efficiently and many thanks to todays Lino's Dave and Simon.