Hitchin Town Belles Under 15

Match Report 2007-2008

Hitchin hang on and survive Tottenham second half blitz to remain unbeaten in the league and still top.

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Sunday, 21st October 2007

Hitchin Town Belles U15 †4 v 4† Tottenham Hotspur B U15

Players: Elise, Alex, Roisin, Louise (Captain), Sarah, Natalie, Lauren, Keeley, Monica, Sammy, Sian, Stephanie, Eva, Joanna.

Scorers Hitchin; Louise (2), Keeley, and Sian

Half Time; 4-2

Match Summary

The first visit of Tottenham Hotspur to Hitchin this season on a bright crisp Autumn day saw Hitchin nearly squander a dominant first half and hang on by their finger tips to survive with a draw. This was not a match for those of nervous dispositions or heart problems as Hitchin rapidly tired in the second half and let Tottenham back into the game with a cliffhanger of a finish.

Hitchin made some sloppy defensive errors caused by poor communication and misunderstanding, every time Tottenham attacked Hitchin looked like a boxer with a glass jaw and really failed to clear their lines and nullify the attacking threats effectively. Maybe this was because it was the first match where they had really been probed by fast attacking forwards but they looked shaky going backwards. Hitchin need fear no team in this league and a bit more confidence would have helped.

To be fair though Tottenham were much more aware of what they were facing and now Hitchin have played and beaten every team in the league they are the team now to beat and that means every team they face will be trying that little bit harder. However that is a mark of respect for Hitchin.

Hitchin always seem to start nervously against Tottenham maybe itís the name but after a tight start Sarah linked up with Louise who fired narrowly wide. In the absence of Sammy, Louise put a quick lovely through ball to Sian and she scored well for the second successive match. At this time Tottenham showed little attacking intention and after a goalmouth scramble Louise pounced on the loose ball to make it 2 Ė0. Hitchin flying high and looking good. However Tottenham had other ideas and in a swift counter attack a horrible piece of confusion in the Hitchin goalmouth let them in to make it 2-1. A well worked corner by Hitchin saw them hit the bar and Keeley had a good shot on goal. Tottenham pressed down the right wing and a cross was deflected into the Hitchin net to make it 2-2 and it was all looking very edgy.

Nerves were softened when Keeley made a good run on the left and broke away from the defenders to hit a sweet shot straight past the goal keeper Hitchin 3 Ė2 up.

A good piece of play after the restart from Sarah saw her slot a great cross to Louise who blasted a 20 yard shot into the bottom corner of the net to make it 4-2 to Hitchin and make it a perfect finish to the half.

The second half started with Hitchin staring into the low setting autumnal sun and never really losing a slightly stunned look as Tottenham turned defence into attack and gave the Hitchin defence of Lauren, Jo, Roisin, Monica, Eva and Natalie a thoroughly good going over. The Tottenham supporters were in full voice and it felt quite continental as the accents of Hitchin, London and Milan were mixed on the pitch side at Ickleford. The pressure told and Tottenham struck back to make it 4-3. Hitchin looked tired and perhaps the excellent running of the first half had worn them out. Certainly with half term upon us, and many people away having only having one sub made Paulís options limited.

Tottenham were scenting something more than a defeat and pressed forwards again. They scored on a quick break and the away supporters were delighted. 4-4 and it looked grim for Hitchin. The game was finely balanced and to their credit Hitchin started to press forward again and looked the more dangerous. The atmosphere was highly charged and neither team wanted to lose. Tottenham were given a late scare by a fierce shot just wide from Steph and Alex ran very well on the right to try and set up the chances. Louise nearly had the last laugh as her shot hit the upright. Hitchin did look dangerous in the last 5 minutes but Tottenham held on for the draw.

As Hitchin left the pitch the Spurs supporters gave their team a great reception celebrating the draw. It is a real mark of respect to Hitchin that a visiting Tottenham team walk away from Hitchin to be so pleased with a draw. It is also a mark of how far this team has come and the high standards they now set themselves. They are unbeaten after 5 games, top of the league and still scoring great goals. They remain the team to be beaten and they have skill and ability to keep the top place. There are lessons learnt for every match and in this one on the pitch communication must be improved, keep the ball better and win the second ball, standing off when a team attacks will lead to goals against you. There was time as well to make some more considered passes the team does well in this area and a bit more awareness of the options and less whacking the ball clear does take the pressure off. What Tottenham did to turn around the match was to vary their game plan, neutralise the threats and focus on what they say as areas of weakness. This bought them back into contention.

Apologies if I have not mentioned everyone like the rest of the country I am off on holidays and wanted to post a quick report before I depart northwards for rest and recuperation after having my nerves fried in the last 10 minutes of this match.

Next week another big match Watford at home looks like the recuperation period could be longer but Hitchin have the talent to win this game.

Girl of the match

Louise for 2 very well taken goals and an ever-present threat in attack.

Report by Mike Thompson