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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 14th September 2008

Hitchin Hearts Belles U14  1 v 4  Hemel Hempstead Ladies U14

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Team Photo; Click to expand

The first game of the new season ended in defeat against visitors Hemel Hempstead by 1-4. This was the first game of the new amalgamation of last season’s under 12 and under 13 teams and it was always going to be difficult with players getting used to each other and new positions. However Hitchin Hearts will take many positives from the match.

Hitchin lined up in 4-4-2 formation with Kerry in goal and Carmen, Chloe, Abigail and Helen in defence. The midfield quartet was Sophie, Maddy, Katie and Bethan, Elodie and Alex made up the attack. The Hearts also could field two substitutes with Holly and Ilana. The early exchanges took part almost entirely in the Hitchin half with Hemel creating some good pressing play forcing some early corners. With the Hitchin players getting used to playing together it was no surprise that Hemel Hempstead took an early lead. On only 5 minutes a break saw Hemel break strongly through the centre and with the defence out numbered the ball was lifted easily into the goal.

Hitchin tried to respond, Maddy and Sophie combining well in midfield but the Hemel defence looked strong and threatened to turn defence into attack quickly. On 9 minutes Kerry was called upon to save strongly at the near post from another Hemel attack. More chances came for the visitors and on 11 minutes Kerry again saved excellently from close range. Hitchin Hearts were settling more into the game and were producing more attacking play but without threatening the Hemel goal. Hemel continued to look strong on the break, stretching the defence on several occasions with Kerry making a string of saves. Carmen also impressed in defence with a series of clearing kicks. On 22 minutes Hemel doubled their lead from a corner. A simple low cross was not picked up resulting in an easy tap-in. It was soon 0-3 with Hemel turning defence into attack and breaching the defensive line to score easily. Within another minute it could have been worse, another attack saw Kerry beaten but Helen managed to bundle the ball off the line and the attack was smothered.

Half-time arrived at 0-3 to Hemel Hempstead. Some reorganisations saw Alex moving from Attack to defence and Abigail from defence to midfield. Later in the half Carmen swopped positions with Katie to take on an attacking role. With the game all but lost it was important for Hitchin Hearts to show improvement and build more understanding with each other.

As the second half progressed Hitchin came into the game creating more attacks and finally some goal scoring chances. Abigail impressed on the left side of midfield beating players and tackling with aggression. Elodie and Sophie were starting to combine well. On 55 minutes Hitchin deservedly got a goal back. Abigail turned past a defender and passed to Elodie who used her strength to create some space and shoot into the left corner of the goal from 10 yards. Unfortunately Hemel responded immediately from their next attack, cutting open the defence once more and shooting strongly high into the top corner to make it 1-4.

More chances came for Hemel but Kerry stood firm, in one instance probably making her best save of the match to cut out and almost certain goal. Hitchin Hearts created more chances, Bethan and Carmen both going close. After 70 minutes Bethan nearly pulled another goal back with a spectacular shot. Abigail and Elodie combined to get the ball to Bethan on the edge of the area and she crashed her shot against the crossbar.

The game ended 1-4. Hemel Hempstead deserved to win but Hitchin Hearts showed good improvement in the second half. Special mention goes to Kerry whose excellent goalkeeping kept the score-line respectable. There were strong performances also from Carmen in defence and Abigail in midfield in the second half. It was good to see Elodie getting her goal account going….only 27 more needed to beat last season!

Hitchin goal-scorers: Elodie

Player of the Match: Kerry