Millstone’s third game of the season brings another difficult defeat, but as always not one without merit for the girls. The Handsworth Ladies were always favourites to win as clear contenders for league champions, but that didn’t phase Millstone, displaying a sense of true grit and determination that has always been admirable in the team. While both teams are now polarised in league positions, Millstone’s morale remains unchallenged, giving them every chance of turning this season around in the coming games.
“It’s a game of two halves” as the old saying goes, and this game was no exception. The Handsworth Girls slotted away 15 in the first 45, a stark contrast to the 5 conceded by Millstone in the second half. As Club Manager Mitch Coley put it, “the second half it was a completely different team. As a team, we are playing a lot better, its a case of sticking to the game plan, which the girls just didn’t do in the first half”.
A very honest reflection of the game, the first half consisted of a very high Handsworth press; with almost all of the game played in Millstone’s half, the girls just couldn’t hold possession long enough to break through the back three sitting comfortably on the halfway line. Handsworth’s set pieces were lethal throughout, with a majority of goals coming from corner crosses floating in all too dangerously to goal, or freekicks played straight through millstone’s defensive formation.
The second half brought a very different style of play from the ladies in white - (Millstone displaying their away kit for the first time this Sunday) - a more driving, controlled, and all-round intelligent display, the likes of which previously yet to be seen from the girls. For the most part, Millstone dominated midfield, with some driving attacks from no. 16’s Lisa Gray and 17’s Sophie Barrett, flowing through the defence. When Handsworth countered, they were met by the incredible challenges of 15’s Rachel Wilson and 8 Paige Batram, who put the fire out of many attacks in dangerous areas. When Handsworth somehow managed to get past the ladies, Goalkeeper Hannah Lamb was there, stopping shots consistently, and on more than one occasion, bringing herself outfield to make that all-important tackle when it demanded it of her.
Defensive midfielder Rachel Wilson mentioned that their strength defensively comes from “playing in front of Hannah, we know that we can push up, and if it’s ever slotted over the top of us we know Hannah has got it covered, she gives us that confidence. Another hard game but a completely different game from first half to second half, but we are really starting to gel and get it together”.
Next week Millstone are back on home ground, facing off against Dearne and District Ladies, who currently sit mid-table on 3 points with a game in hand.
Match Report by Michael Rodber