Hitchin Town Belles Under 13

Match Report 2007-2008

Sunday, 24th February 2008

Lea Valley United U13  6 v 0  Hitchin Town Belles U13

Players: Ruby, Chloe, Kerry, Tamsin, Helen, Carmen, Jasmine (Captain), Bethan, Sophie, Maddy.

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Another match with the Belles starting at a disadvantage - this week we only have 10 players. The girls will have to summon their courage and call on their deepest reserves to keep working for a whole match against a team benefitting from the ability to call on substitutes to give tired legs a rest. Gary is stepping in as Manager for this match, and his first difficult task is to find a 'volunteer' to start in goal. Bethan steps forward, and so the starting lineup is Bethan goal; Tamsin, Kerry, Chloe and Ruby in defence; Jasmin, Maddy, Sophie and Helen in Midfield; and Carmen a lone attacker.

Needing a good start, that is exactly what we didn't get. Within the first minute Lea Valley converted an unthreatening throw-in on their left when the Hitchin markers simply failed to pick up their players. After that the team could have lost heart, but no such outcome followed, and the Belles got into their stride, defending strongly, fighting it out in midfield, and occassionally giving Lea Valley a scare with a fast break out into attack. You wouldn't have known that Hitchin were a player short, they looked to be standing up well to Lea Valley, and for the remainder of the half they kept the opposition at bay... until the last minute of the half that is, when another error in defence left one Lea Valley player on her own and on-side in front of goal. Bethan had no chance, and the half ended with the Belles two goals down.

The Belles needed a rest, and half-time gave Garry the chance to 'persuade' Kerry to take up the goalie gloves for the second half. Bethan came out to add her strEngth in midfield.

As the second half progressed it felt as though the hard work was starting to take its toll on the Hitchin players - tired legs led to more chances for Lea Valley, and after just 5 minutes they claimed their third goal with a shot from their right which crept into the goal and ran straight out the back under or through the net. Spectators and officials alike were in doubt about whether the goal was good - in the end Kerry declared that it had definitely gone in, and the goal was given.

The remainder of the second half was a bit of a downward spiral for Hitchin - in the main they played well and fought hard, but tiredness and the imbalance in number of players contributed to a series of situations where Lea Valley managed just to get away from the Belles. A further 3 goals were conceded and the match ended six-nil to Lea Valley.

It is very hard for Hitchin to take much away from matches like this - we were not really outplayed on an individual level, but as a team we came up just a little short of competitive. All the players worked really hard, and kept going right to the end - for this they all deserve plaudits.

Player of the Match: A touch choice for acting manager Garry, the whole team worked hard and deserved an award, but Ruby stood out for her defiance and perserverance, and so the award goes to her.

Report by John Davey