Hitchin Town Belles Under 12

Match Report 2007-2008

Sunday, 10th February 2008

Hitchin Town Belles U12 0 v 3 Queens Park Rangers U12

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Match Report

As expected Hitchin lost to QPR on Sunday but they put in their best performance of the season in limiting the score to 0-3 and it could have been even better. The whole team takes great credit in the whole hearted, battling display they put in.

For the first time this season The Belles had 3 substitutes at their disposal and these would all be needed in a high tempo game. Sarah went in goal for the entire match; this decision was certainly justified as she put in an excellent display throughout. Hitchin started with Emily, Leah, Helen and Alice in defence. Abigail, Ilana, Lateasha and Alex were in midfield with Elodie and Fleur leading the attack. Chloe, Destiny and Amy made started on the substitutes bench (as if we have a subs bench!)

QPR started strongly and created plenty of pressure in the opening 5 minutes though Hitchin, defending in depth, prevented any real chances. On 5 minutes a strong shot from a QPR player brought an excellent save from Sarah. Hitchin was creating some attacking pressure themselves forcing 2 corners in the opening 9 minutes with Elodie instrumental. Alice typified the attitude of the home team, at one moment she made a great cross into the QPR penalty area and in the next she was clearing a QPR attack. Overall QPR had more possession and the play was mainly in the Hitchin half but they were unable to create many clear-cut chances. Hitchin defended in numbers with Leah impressing with a string of tackles and clearances.

The best chance of the first half fell to Hitchin on 13 minutes; from midfield Lateasha passed through to Elodie who went on a meandering run and hit a powerful shot across the goal from about 25 yards, it looked a certain goal but agonisingly the ball rebounded off the post. QPR exerted more pressure and earned a free-kick 25 yards out, the ball was struck cleanly but Sarah plucked the ball out of the air high above her head for a great save. The division 1 side continued to press but the Hitchin defence held firm. Towards the end of the half another chance came to the The Belles, Destiny playing the ball through to Abigail who in turn found Alex whose shot was easily saved by the QPR goalkeeper.

Hitchin deservedly went in to half time all-square. No team talk was necessary, the Hitchin players had excelled and we just needed more of the same. The second half started in a similar pattern with QPR pressing. Only 2 minutes gone in the second half and Hitchin unluckily went behind, a fairly tame shot across the goal hit the far post and ricocheted of Sarah into the goal. Hitchin continued to press but were starting to get more stretched at the back. Alex in midfield was linking well with Elodie and Fleur but no clear chances were created. As Hitchin pressed forward it left gaps at the back and QPR continued to look dangerous creating more chances. On 53 minutes QPR made it 0-2, another Hitchin attack broke down and a QPR break had 3 players clear with no defenders in front of them and scoring was a formality it has to be said this goal was clearly off-side but the linesman (Gareth!) did not flag it. The third goal came on 57 minutes, the Hitchin defence could not clear and QPR scored from a tight angle.

So a superb performance from Hitchin who take great credit from the game, if they can apply this in their upcoming league games they will be a real handful for any team. It is difficult to pick out individuals in such a fine team performance but Sarah in goal was key to keeping the score down and in a strong defensive performance from everybody, Leah shone out.

One learning for The Belles is to keep chasing the ball even when it looks like it is going out of play. On 3 occasions in the second half Hitchin players assumed the ball was going to go into touch and did not chase it down only to surrender possession to the opposition, on the third occasion this resulted in a goal. Cannot assume the ball is out until it is over the line.

Player of the match: Sarah