Maidenhead Girls U16’s Dev Squad 0 Gerrards Cross 3
By Jacqui Bird
The girls did not get the rewards their brave second-half display deserved
The girls did not get the rewards their brave second-half display deserved as they attacked with pace and purpose and peppered the visitor’s goal with shots galore.
But sadly, despite all their bright and bold forward play it could not make up for a limp and lack-lustre performance in the opening half… when most of the damage was done.
For all that, though, this was truly a game about a goalie. To start with, Elinor was the victim of a wicked piece of bad luck for Gerrards Cross’s opening goal in the 21st minute.
She managed to get a block on a stinging shot from the left of the D, but could only divert the ball high up onto her near post. From there it ricocheted off the metal, hit Elinor on her back and slowly plopped over the goal-line.
To be fair, there was little she could do for their second goal, shortly before half-time. GX’s best player drove into the D and, as our defenders stood aside, finished clinically into a corner.
But, after the break, it was a totally different story. Elinor was invincible, making a string of saves, blocks and kicks clear to keep attackers at bay.
The problem was, Elinor was playing for them in the second half! Before the match, Gerrards Cross admitted they were struggling for players – including a ‘keeper – and so we agreed to loan them one of ours.
In the first half Elinor played for us - while our other Dev Squad goalie Kiera played for them - and then, at half time, the pair switched teams.
In contrast to Elinor’s all-action heroics, Keira had a much quieter time. In the first half she only had to deal with a few efforts as our attack was mainly firing blanks. After the break she was beaten once as GX’s best player again counter-attacked with another surging run – this time from the half-way line - and shot across her and inside the far post.
It was a little ironic that after the match the GX team voted Elinor our best player because of how well she had played for them!
But, for Elinor to be in the thick of second-half action, it had to mean our team performance had improved tremendously.
In the first half individual players were doing good things…such as Caitlin in central defence and Stella in defensive midfield winning lots of tackles. Evie B got in a good shot just past the post and Nuala was working hard in midfield…but there was a general lack of energy.
In the second half the team had more commitment and intensity in its play. We got hold of midfield by supporting others and moving the ball faster. We saw more reward for Simran’s efforts and Sophie’s skills. Even Emma from defence was coming forward, breaking up play and passing the ball well.
We attacked down both flanks and created chances from open plays and short corners. Ellie had lots of shots and linked well with Stella and Amy. Jenna was always in the action and we even got the ball over the line once…only to be whistled for a foot fault.
And so the quest for the Dev Squad’s first win of the season continues. If we had played from the start the way we played in the second half, it could have been a different story.
The girls must be focused from the first whistle. But there were plenty of positives in the second half…and we can comfort ourselves by saying next time we won’t be facing Elinor in their goalmouth!