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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 12th October 2008

Barnet Azzurri †5 v 0† Hitchin Hearts Belles

00855 hits since October 16, 2008

After the joy of their first league win of the season the previous Sunday, Hitchin Belles were brought down to earth with a heavy 5-0 loss to Barnet Azzurri. Whilst the score-line exaggerated the difference between the two sides, there is no doubt that Barnet played to their positions better and this was the telling difference.

With resources stretched, Hitchin started with Alex in goal for the second game running. The defensive four was Chloe, Ruby, Katie and Emily making her first start of the season. Midfield was made up with Holly, Carmen, Abigail and Beth and the strike-force was Elodie and Sophie. The 2 substitutes to start were Ilana and Helen.

The early stages of the match were closely contested with both sides creating attacking play with Beth going close on 2 occasions. Barnet too were pressing and after 11 minutes took the lead, a speculative shot across the area was not cleared by the defence and the ball crept into the corner to the goal. The goal seemed to give Barnet a great deal of confidence and the remainder of the half was dominated by their attacking play. Overall the Hitchin midfield was too progressive and this created space in front of the defence allowing the opposition to take advantage. Hitchin attacks were rare but Holly and Abigail both provided good through balls to Beth whose shots were just wide.

Barnetís attacking pressure was bound to tell in the end and on 29 minutes they extended their lead, unfortunately the goal was down to goalkeeper error; trying to deal with a shot with pace Alex was caught in two minds whether to kick or catch and as result the ball beat her. However she more than made amends only 2 minutes later when she saved well from a Barnet attack that looked certain to be their third goal.

2-0 down and halftime and the momentum was all with Barnet. To make matters worse key striker Elodie was struggling with a knee injury and due to her limited mobility had to replace Alex in goal. Katie also was sidelined for the second half through injury. In an effort to get the Belles back in the game, Pete reorganised the team switching to a 4-3-3 formation with Beth, Sophie and Abigail now in attack and Carmen pushing up from midfield. The second half started in similar fashion to the first half with Barnet creating more scoring chances. With the game opening up Hitchin also started to threaten the Barnet goal. One positive of having Elodie in goal was that her booming clearances were allowing the Hitchin attackers to press; Beth, Carmen and Sophie going close but the luck was just not with Hitchin. Barnet continued to enjoy too much space in midfield allowing them to break through the Hitchin defence too often and the goals continuing to come and after 61 minutes the score was 5-0.

To their credit Hitchin did not give up and the final 10 minutes they should have at least got on the score sheet. The most noticeable effort came after 64 minutes with Holly playing a great through ball to put Carmen clean through on goal, unfortunately the ball just ran on too far allowing the goalkeeper to claim.

So a disappointing result after the win last week but the Hitchinís cause was not helped by injuries and the unavailability of some key players. The link up between defence and midfield was a problem, simply the midfield were too far in front of the defence which made it too easy for the Barnet attackers. That said credit should go to the defence who kept their positions well, Emily made some great tackles on her return but particular mention should go to Chloe who organised the back four throughout. Holly provided some good touches from midfield almost setting up a goal and on another day Beth could have scored 2 or 3 goals.

Report by: Dave Wrigley