Hitchin Town Belles Under 12

Match Report 2007-2008

Sunday, 18th May 2008

Headstone Manor U12 �2 v 1� Hitchin Town Belles U12

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Match Report

It was fitting that Hitchin�s last fixture of the season was away to unbeaten league champions Headstone Manor and in a game played in an excellent spirit Headstone won a close fought contest 2-1. In spite of the loss it was a very positive end to rewarding season for Hitchin which saw them finish 4th in the league.

Perhaps is was no surprise but another away game meant limited resources with only 10 players to call on. Sarah took on the goal keeping jersey for the entire game with Emily, Helen and Leteasha in defence. The midfield four consisted of Abigail, Alex, Destiny and Ilana with Elodie and Fleur in attack. Against such a well organised team it was obvious that Hitchin would need to defend in numbers and on a well grassed pitch the lack of a full team and substitutes could well be a decisive factor.

The game started at a high tempo with Hitchin enjoying some good procession. Not surprisingly Headstone was very well organised, particularly in defence. The first chance on goal came along after 5 minutes, Elodie and Fleur combining well but Fleur�s shot was straight at the goalkeeper. Another chance came after 9 minutes, Abigail passing the ball to Elodie on her left foot but she could not get a shot away. Then Fleur, Helen and Abigail combined to create another chance. Whilst Hitchin was at this stage enjoying greater possession and some promising attacking situations, Headstone was coming more into the game and should have taken the lead on 15 minutes with a shot/cross hitting the right hand post. Headstone did take the lead after 18 minutes. A long goal kick bounced awkwardly high and allowed the Headstone right winger to get clear of Helen; she provided an excellent cross into the box to find 2 players unmarked for a simple tap in.

Now followed a period of greater pressure from Headstone Manor and Hitchin�s midfield and defence were pressed hard. The spirit showed by the whole Hitchin team was excellent. Leteasha at her cussed best was playing as well as she had all season. Destiny and Ilana battled well in midfield to fight for and win the ball on several occasions. Emily and Helen were tackling hard in defence and limiting the opposition to a few half chances. Hitchin was creating fewer chances at the other end but Elodie and Fleur again linking up well when permitted. A real positive of the second half of the season has been the link up play between Fleur and Elodie.

Half time arrived at 1-0 to Headstone Manor. Sarah had been little tested in the first half and Hitchin had created a great deal of attacking play but overall this was a fair reflection of the game. For the second half it was important that Hitchin�s forwards were better supported by midfield and defence, easy to say with only 10 players!

The second half started in a similar fashion with Headstone Manor pressing for their second goal. After only 1 minute of the second half there was a clear chance, for once the Hitchin defence was missing, but Sarah made an excellent save with her foot. Now Hitchin enjoyed their best period of the game forcing 3 corners in a row. The scores were nearly level with an Elodie shot saved and Fleur going close with the follow-up. More pressure for Hitchin saw Alex shooting well and Destiny nearly deflecting the ball into the goal. Then on 51 minutes saw Hitchin equalise with a move that summed up the improvement in the side this season. Helen at left back won the ball from a Headstone attack. She took the ball up the wing and played a long pass to Fleur who played a perfect cross into the box to find Elodie to score easily. From defence to attack in one sweeping move.

So 9 minutes to go and Headstone Manor went on the offensive to get the win, redeploying some of their �big-guns� in response to the state of the game. Hitchin still tried to press and with 5 minutes go Leteasha combined with Elodie and Fleur on the right but the chance was wasted. Almost immediately Emily passed through to Alex and onto Elodie and Fleur but again we just could not take the chance. With so many opportunities going begging it was almost inevitable that Headstone Manor was going to get the decisive goal. It was a scrambled affair and with the defence outnumbered Headstone managed to bundle the ball into the goal. With almost the last attack of the game Elodie went down in the penalty area under pressure from a defender, the linesman looked to give the penalty but the referee disagreed and in defence Elodie later admitted it was no penalty!

The game ended 2-1 and 10 player Hitchin can be very proud of the way they competed and battled across the pitch. All 10 players deserve credit and for this reason no player of the match was awarded.

Goal Scorers: Elodie

Player of the Match: Not awarded

Last game of the season is a good time for this observer to sum up the season. There has been huge progress from last season in which Hitchin only won 2 games. Hitchin finished in fourth place and this could have been better but for a couple of disappointing games against lower teams. It should be noted that Hitchin well beat both the 3rd placed team (Garston) and the 2nd (Enfield).

New players have had a hugely positive impact to the team; Elodie, Sarah and Alysha. Later addition Destiny has been an almost ever present in the second half of the season and is growing in confidence and ability with every game. Hitchin scored more than 4 times the number of goals compared with last season with Elodie proving a match winner on several occasions with 27 goals. We should not forget last years top scorer Fleur significantly contributing with 11 goals but goals have been also coming from others too including Abigail, Alex and Leteasha. The Hitchin defence looks as good as any in the league with the quartet of Leah, Emily, Helen and Alysha, only the defences of Garston and Headstone Manor conceded less goals. The �old stalwarts� of Alex, Alice, Amy, Ilana and Abigail impressed all season with their commitment and play, for some of them they were often forced to play out of position or in goal (sorry Amy!). On the negative side we struggled for numbers in most of the away games in the latter part of the season and this is hard on those who turned up. Credit should go to those who turned out week after week; Emily, Alex and Ilana only missed 2 games, Abigail only missed 2 games and that was through injury (Alex�s fault!), Elodie only missed one game and Helen was an ever present missing none.

On that note I will stop my rambling with a message on this last theme. To continue to be successful and thrive this team needs most/all of the players to continue and we need more players, so if you have candidates let us know. We also need to find a willing and able goalkeeper. I am already looking forward to next season.

Report by Dave Wrigley