Hitchin Town Belles Under 12

Match Report 2007-2008

Sunday, 9th March 2008

Northwood U12  4 v 2  Hitchin Town Belles U12

00785 hits since March 13, 2008

Goal Scorers: Elodie (2)

Match Report

Hitchin Belles lost 4-2 on Sunday away to Northwood. Lack of players was clearly the main reason for this reversal. With Alice, Alex and Emily unavailable and with Chloe, Leah and Lateasha “missing in action”, Hitchin started the game with only 9 players (against Northwood’s 10!). The game hinged on an injury to Fleur just after half time, she was hit a sickening blow with the ball and was forced out of the game. With only 8 players left the game turned in Northwood’s favour. Missing players through other commitments is perfectly understandable, players not turning up is simply unacceptable and is unfair on the rest of the team.

So with 9 players to call on Hitchin started the game with a 3-3-2 formation. Amy went in goal and the defence was made up of Helen, Abigail and Alysha. Ilana, Destiny and Fleur formed the midfield with the dynamic duo of Sarah and Elodie leading the attack. As Northwood only had 10 players there was plenty of room on the pitch and an entertaining and open game followed. Hitchin had the best of the opening period with plenty of attacking play and they made the breakthrough after only 5 minutes. Fleur played the ball through to Elodie who smashed the ball into the top corner of the net. The lead was doubled after 11 minutes, Sarah providing an excellent pass to Elodie who knocked in her second of the game and her 26th goal of the season.

0-2 after only 11 minutes and it looked comfortable for The Belles but Northwood looked dangerous on the break and increasingly came into the game. Northwood forced a series of corners and Fleur, Helen and Alysha in turn were called upon to clear. More chances came for Hitchin; the best ones falling to Ilana whose strong shot went wide, Sarah who also shot inches wide and to Elodie who with only the goalkeeper to beat saw her effort blocked by an excellent save. On 24 minutes there was an almost comical passage of play with Northwood attacking and hitting the same post twice within a few seconds. Shortly afterward Amy was needed to make a good scrambling save to her right.

Somewhat fortuitously half time arrived with Hitchin Belles 0-2 up but with Sarah now carrying an injured ankle resources looked very thin. The second half started with Northwood now enjoying more possession and territory though Hitchin looked likely to score again through the combination of Elodie, Sarah and Fleur. Then disaster struck. Elodie, on the edge of the area, took an opportunity to shoot and struck the ball hard against Fleur’s head. It was a horrible blow and it was no surprise that she could not continue and had to miss the remainder of the game. It was such bad luck and proved to be the turning point, with Hitchin down to 8 players the tide turned and Northwood used their numerical advantage well. Their midfield and attack looked far more effective and they put a great deal more pressure on the Hitchin defence. On 40 minutes Northwood should have scored but Amy made a superb save with her fingertips to push the ball on to the bar. The pressure soon told with Northwood scoring on 42 minutes and then again on 45 minutes to level the score.

2-2 with 15 minutes to go and the game was played almost exclusively in the Hitchin half with wave after wave of Northwood attacks. The defending became desperate as Hitchin tried to hold onto the draw but it was not to be. With only 1 minute to go Northwood took the lead and in injury time sealed the game with their fourth. A 4-2 score line perhaps flattered Northwood but they deserved to win with their second half performance.

It was a game played in very good spirit and the Hitchin players take great credit for a battling, team performance with 9 and then only 8 players. If the “missing” players had been available on the day I have no doubt that this would have been a victory.

Choosing player of the match was difficult because all the girls gave wholehearted performances. Elodie was again on the score sheet, Helen and Abigail battled throughout, a reluctant Amy made some excellent stops in goal but Alysha got the award for her strong defensive performance.

Player of the Match: Alysha