Hitchin Town Belles Under 12

Match Report 2007-2008

Sunday, 20th April 2008

Hitchin Town Belles U12  1 v 2  Headstone Manor U12

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Match Report

After 6 weeks of inaction due to rain, snow, pestilence and Easter, Hitchin Belles at last got back to action with a cup tie against runaway and unbeaten league leaders Headstone Manor. In a very closely fought game Headstone ran out deserved winners but only by the odd goal 1-2.

It is good to report that after several successive games with less than eleven players, Hitchin could not only field a full side but also 2 substitutes. Unfortunately top goal scorer Elodie was unavailable so it gave a chance to other strikers to step forward. Sarah took on goalkeeping duties for the first half with Emily, Leah, Helen and Alysha in defence. Midfield was made up of Amy, Ilana, Alice and Abigail with Fleur and Alex upfront. Lateasha and Destiny started the game as substitutes.

It was a closely fought first half with very few clear cut goal scoring chances for either side. Much of the play was in midfield with Headstone Manor trying to attack through the middle, though the Hitchin defence looked relatively comfortable. Fleur and Alex in attack had some good interchanges without creating good chances to score. On 14 minutes a promising attack from Hitchin saw Helen providing a good cross into the Headstone Manor box but Abigail could not get the bouncing ball under control quick enough. On 21 minutes a slip by Leah on the edge of her own area almost let the opposition in but Emily showed great anticipation to block the shot.

With so few goal chances it looked like it would be stalemate at halftime but then Hitchin conceded a poor goal. Sarah cleared from a goal kick could only find a Headstone Manor attacker and the defence did not handle the attack and it resulted in a soft goal to the league leaders. 0-1 at half-time was harsh; Sarah in the Hitchin goal had been scarcely threatened. After some debate Avram Grant (Terry) decided that Sarah should relinquish the goal keeping duties and go into an attacking midfield position. A reluctant Amy went into goal.

The reorganisation soon worked. 3 minutes into the second half Fleur played a super through ball from the halfway line to Sarah who powered through and, in spite of the close attention of 3 defenders, managed to crash the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the Headstone Manor net. It was a tremendous goal from Sarah, her 5th of the season.

The game was wide open and Hitchin Belles enjoyed their best period of the game with Alex and Fleur looking strong on the break. Hitchin forced several corners; one nearly crept in at the near post without being touched by defender or attacker. As the half went on Headstone Manor began to take greater control, enjoying more possession and starting to threaten the Hitchin goal more. On 44 minutes a quick break from Headstone Manor stretched the defence wide but Helen harassed their right winger enough to force the ball wide and stem the attack. On 46 minutes a lovely dribble by the Headstone Manor right winger beat 4 players but the final cross was easily cut out. The pressure was increasing and Amy was forced to make two good saves.

With just 5 minutes to go to possible extra time and penalties the Headstone pressure finally told. A neat interchange in a crowded Hitchin penalty area left their attacker clear on goal and she scored from 8 yards. Hitchin pressed for an equaliser and with seconds left a beautiful through ball from Alex put Fleur through on goal, but the ball just got away from her and the chance was lost.

The 1-2 final score was no disgrace against an excellent Headstone Manor side. Hitchin battled hard and all 13 players played their part. No player of the match was awarded but recognition went to the defensive quartet and Sarah/Amy in goal. Hitchin will have an early chance to avenge the defeat with the rearranged league match set for early May...

Goal Scorers: Sarah

Player of the Match: The defensive unit