Hitchin Town Belles Under 13

Match Report 2007-2008

Team Photo; Click to expand

Sunday, 16th September 2007

Hitchin Town Belles U13  0 v 5  Luton Town

Players: Bethan, Ruby, Christie, Helen, Maddy, Jasmine, Tamsin, Chloe, Sophie, Carmen, Abby, Kerry, Sioban, Yvette, Bethany

01450 hits since September 23, 2007
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The first match of our new season got underway in superb conditions at Ickleford bang on time at 10:30. Hitchin had a great turn-out, only Chloe not available, and Nigel had the luxury of planning a match with frequent use of substitutions to keep the players fresh. The starting formation was intended to be roughly 4 - 1 - 4 - 1, with Maddy playing in front of the defensive line, and Tamsin taking the lone attacking role. Christie started in goal. The girls had been briefed to make good use of the very large field of play, and to try to make sure they employed a passing game to make the most of the wide open spaces. The match started well, and play was evenly matched early on, with Jasmine making her presence felt in the midfield battle, and new player Kerry putting in an awful of lot of very good work. After around 20 minutes however, Luton got the first advantage when a Hitchin goal kick was quickly intercepted just beyond the edge of the area, and the Luton player managed to out-run (and out-shove) Kerry in the race towards the goal. The shot was well taken and gave Christie no real chance. In trying to get down to the shot Christie injured her hand, and so Bethan was called on to step in and take over goal-keeping duties.

The half continued to be very hard-fought and fairly even, although Luton did have the majority of possession and pressure, with Beth coming out to make some excellent goals to keep the difference down to just one goal at half-time. Maddy had a superb half mixing it up all over the midfield and defence, and Tamsin looked really dangerous the couple of times she got a good run at the Luton goal, but nothing came of the work the girls were putting in.

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For the second half Bethan agreed (after some arm-twisting from Nigel) to carry on in goal - Christie still suffering from an injured hand which happily did not prevent her from coming on join in the defence. Helen and Ruby in the wide defensive positions continued to do good work to keep the Luton players in check - Helen playing first on the right and then later on the left with equal effect. Just 5 minutes or so after the restart Luton made the most of a good through ball which caught the Hitchin defence a little static, and Bethan could only get the tips of her fingers to the shot, not enough to stop it going into the net. The score now 2 - nil to Luton, and yet Hitchin are by no means out of contention, and carry on working hard to try to get back into the match. Both Siobhan and Yvette had good spells working in midfied and tracking back into defence, and Carmen and Sophie continued to show the potential to make telling attacking passes. Abby worked hard around the pitch, and Jasmine certainly showed full committment and led from the front as Captain. Despite all this hard work the next decisive moment again belonged to Luton, as a breakaway attack and low shot sneaked into the inside of the side netting - half the players on the field (as well as the referee) doubted whether the shot had gone in as the ball found a hole in the netting, but those closer to the play were in no doubt, and now Luton had a 3 - nil lead.

The game now really seemed to have got away from Hichin, but they didn't give up and continued to put their full efforts into getting some return for their work. Bethany and Casey both did good work, and all the girls worked really hard despite increasing tiredness (some fitness work may be in order with our home pitch now so big). Although Hitchin never really looked outclassed, they also never really managed to bring any sustained or telling pressure to bear, and as the match headed towards its conclusion it was Luton who managed to put the seal on their victory with a rapid pair of goals. The first was an excellent looping shot from just inside the penalty area which gave Beth no chance, and the second a somewhat luckier chance that came from a shot / cross from the right which Beth had comfortably covered, but then unluckily mishandled to end up deflecting into the goal. The final score of 5 - nil to Luton somewhat flatters the victors, but Hitchin will have to get their goal-scoring machinery going soon to come out with better results in future matches.

Player of the match; Click to expand

Player of the match: Beth; for selflessly going in goal after Christie was injured, while suffering from a sore ankle herself. This image is a photo-realistic rendering of Beth as she declined to pose for a formal portrait!

Report by John Davey