Hitchin Town Belles Under 12

Match Report 2007-2008

Sunday, 16th December 2007

Luton Town U12 †5 v 1† Hitchin Town Belles U12

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Match Report

Hitchin Town began their league cup campaign with an away game against division 1 side Luton Town. The Belles battled hard but suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat against a physically strong, at some times over physical, Luton side. Luton played well and deserved the win but an ineffective referee who consistently failed to take strong enough action against foul play did not help Hitchinís efforts.

Hitchin started the game with Alex in goal with Emily, Leah, Helen and Alice in defence. Midfield was made up of Abigail, Alysha, Ilana and with Destiny making her debut. Elodie and Sarah made up the attack with Letitia substitute. The game started badly with Hitchin conceding a penalty after only 2 minutes. Elodie pushed a striker in the penalty area and whilst the player went down a little to easily the penalty decision was justified. Luton scored well hitting the ball in the left corner of the goal. Hitchin responded in the right way pushing forward at every opportunity. Good interchange between Sarah, Elodie and Abigail forced a corner that came to nothing. Helen passed the ball out from defence to Sarah who made a strong run up the left wing. Luton however looked very dangerous on the break and they doubled their lead after 9 minutes with a strong shot, Alex got a hand to the ball but could not deflect it wide.

2-0 down and Hitchin were up against it. The situation was not made any easier on 10 minutes when Sarah was taken out of the game by a shocking tackle, it looked to be clumsy rather than malicious but it meant a long spell on the sidelines for Sarah receiving treatment. The referee awarded a free kick but took no further action. Hitchin tried to put this incident behind them but the players were clearly unnerved. Play went from end to end with Luton still looking the more dangerous. Alex made an excellent save from 10 yards but could do nothing to stop the third goal on 21 minutes. Another Luton attack tore through the Hitchin defence leaving an easy chance from 6 yards that was not missed. To make matters worse Emily was injured in the attack and was also forced to leave the field. Luton continued to counter attack well and Alex was forced to make another superb save after 23 minutes. With Emily missing the defence was fully stretched and yet another attack was cut out at the last moment by Helen at the expense of a corner. Hitchin was coming back into the game with Sarah, back on the pitch after her injury, and Abigail in particular impressing with their strong hustling and dribbling. It looked like Hitchin would get to half time with out conceding further goals but in the last minute another Luton break split the weakened defence and the score became 4-0.

It had been a very difficult game for the girls with the gulf between the divisions very apparent. There was not a great deal to chose between the sides in terms of skill but Luton was stronger and more physical in play. A rearrangement of resources at half time saw Sarah going in goal, Helen swapping with Leah to go into central defence alongside Emily and Letitia replacing Destiny in midfield. It was unlikely that Destiny was going to get back on the pitch, as she had to share her boots with Letitia! Playing for pride now it was important that The Belles upped their game and how they responded! Hitchin defended deeper in the second half with Emily and Helen tackling well in the centre. Alysha came more into the game with a truly battling performance and Sarah looked very solid in goal. Elodie was hampered by an injury to her arm, which she picked up at the end of the first half.

On 36 minutes Hitchin broke away with Alex and Elodie combining but Elodie was pulled back on the edge of the area but the official missed this. Straight from this attack Luton had a break which gave 3 on 2 players but Emily saved the day with a last ditch tackle. Some good play by Alice found Alysha who took the ball forward and played a good through ball to Elodie who in turn found Alex who could not get a shot away. After 44 minutes came Hitchinís best chance with Alex, Abigail and Letitia combining but the chance was smothered. Luton stretched their lead to 5-0 after 47 minutes, Sarah given no chance with a strong shot into the corner of the goal. Again Hitchin responded well with Elodie finding Alysha in the Luton penalty area but she could only shoot wide. Luton continued to press but with Emily and Helen tackling strongly and looking more assured in the centre of defence Luton could not add to their lead.

Hitchin finally scored the goal they fully deserved for their second half display. Abigail secured the ball in midfield and found Alex who crossed for Elodie to score in the open goal. This was her 16th goal of the season. The final whistle sounded with the score 5-1 to Luton. Hitchin Belles should be proud of their performance, particular in the second half, against a stronger team. Managers Award Not awarded

Goals: Elodie (1)

Player of the match: Alysha

Manager's Award: Not awarded