U14 girls away to Sandhurst Town Rubies
By Amy Craik
penultimate league game of the season
The sun shone for us at Sandhurst today and the girls were determined to make a good start. We had Daisy in goal, with Holly, Bo, Ruby and Charlotte at the back, Abi and Chloe on the wings with Joana and Poppy in the middle and Sophie and Grace up front. Rhianna was in the dog house, having forgotten her boots today, but did get some game time thanks to the loan of Ruby's Astro trainers.
Sandhurst took the kick off and it was clear that they meant business, they were calm and careful with the ball and it took some hard work for us to win the ball. Holly was first to connect a decent pass into Abi, but it wasn't long before they were making a breakthrough again. Bo and Ruby worked in tandem to see off a runner using Charlotte, who was well placed, to clear up the ball.
Chloe maintained her strength from last week, winning two strong tackles in a row to keep possession for the team, yet before long Daisy was being put through her paces punching the ball out and then leaping to swipe away the rebound. Joana showed her skill in the midfield, running on with the ball then out-skilling a player to place a great pass.
Beau showed power from the minute she came on on the wing, yet was overpowered time and again by several girls hunting her down at the line. Soon a Sandhurst corner lead to a goal, which they deserved, but our girls rallied themselves and did not flag. Sandhurst were super motivated by their advantage and our defense saw off a flurry of attacks, Charlotte never giving up in a 2 on 1 ball custody battle just outside the box, Ruby using her head to clear a cross giving Beau another opportunity to stretch her legs on the wing, attempting to take the ball all the way, but sadly losing it to the keeper despite her brilliant effort.
Play was switched and Holly kept her cool in right back, taking time to ensure great pass after great pass. Another run into the box from Beau was thwarted, then Bo was seen holding the ball and out-skilling players in the midfield to deliver a quality pass. Grace came close to shooting at this point and was applauded for her efforts by her teammates, Poppy was on hand to ensure that the ball stayed in our possession and delivered a smart ball out to Beau who made a great attempt on goal with the side of her foot, which sadly didn't have the power to get past their keeper. Nevertheless, we won a corner, quickly followed by another and after lots of hectic action in the box, Grace delighted us all by scoring our first goal of the game.
Respect goes to Poppy for delivering beautiful corners that consistently challenging our opposition!
In the funny 5 minutes that followed we conceded two free kicks for handballs (one more obvious than the other). We ended the half with another long strong run from Beau to win a corner, followed by another shot from Beau, this time carefully composed, but sadly just above the goal, great work Beau.
At half time the girls felt that they were talking pretty well, particularly at the back. I had asked Bo to take on the role of defence leader and I felt that the back 4 had really communicated and supported each other.
In the second half Evie took to the goal with Daisy now up front with Abi. You will see that I wrote a lot less due to the excitement and enjoyment of watching the game! We worked well to keep posession enough for Daisy to put a neat cross in front of the goal for Abi, but due to her having to turn 180 degrees with the ball, she placed it just wide! Sandhurst fought back and overwhelmed us all to score a second then a third goal in ridiculously quick succession.
Thankfully the Tornadoes self motivated and came back stronger and more co-ordinated. An own goal due to our pressure and persistance in the box bought the score to 3-2. Abi had another attempt that flew high from a volley and Beau fought hard again to keep posession just outside the box, Daisy shot next winning a corner and soon enough she had the opportunity to look up and place the ball in the top right corner for a hard fought equaliser.
The next shot came from Abi, as she retreived the ball after the keeper dropped it. Sadly the offside flag was waved and the goal was not allowed. The Keeper took the free kick and sent it straight to Daisy who set Abi up for another high shot. When the counter attack came, as we knew it would, the defence were completely sorted and co-ordinated. Bo pushing forwards confidently yet again and leading the backline crew, by great example.
Sophie positioned herself well in the middle time after time to receive crosses and passes and place balls back out to the wingers. Her strength and skill today shone out when she was playing midfield. Holly continued to show composure and support for her winger, showing particular strength with controlling her first touch.
Abi, now back on the wing dropped back to help out the defense during a relentless attack by Sandhurst, clearing the ball then resetting herself, using Sophie to create a combination with Daisy leading to Daisy putting in another top right goal to put us into the lead for the first time in the game.
Now was time for a double Ruby moment where she used her speed to counter the counter attack twice, although there was nothing that could be done to prevent the Sandhurst goal that followed.
Sandhurst put us under tremendous pressure in the last two minutes, Evie was on the ball in goal and faced two corners in quick succession, Sandhurst sending in all their players for the last corner creating crowding and confusion that thankfully didn't aid them. The final corner was beautifully dismissed by Holly, if only the whistle hadn't blown....
Player of the match today went to Bo G, she showed an extra level of confidence today, which was reflected with her composure in posession and her speed and determination when out of posession. For communicating, using her skills and supporting her team mates, Bo was our well deserved POTM. Its often hard after a draw or a loss to recognise the amazing things that we achieved, but thats such a shame because today I saw connected passing, communication, confidence and skill from every single player. I have pushed the girls hard this week and they have risen to the challenges, I couldn't be more proud of them. Its these tough games that teach us the most.