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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 2nd November 2008

Hitchin Hearts Belles  1 v 5  AFC Stevenage

00870 hits since November 6, 2008

Hitchin’s second meeting of the season with undefeated league leaders Stevenage was always going to be a difficult game and so it proved. The first half was very competitive and Hitchin was unlucky not to go into the break level, but Stevenage laid on the style in the second half to run out easy winners by 1-5.

With their highest turnout of the season Hitchin had 16 players to choose from which created a headache for the coach! They started with Kerry was in goal, with a defensive four of Emily, Leah, Ruby and Carmen. The midfield consisted of Maddy, Beth, Sarah and Molly with Elodie and Sophie in attack. The crowded substitutes’ bench had Helen, Alex, Abigail, Ilana and Bethany.

The game started encouragingly with Sarah supplying a great through ball to Elodie after only 3 minutes but her shot was easily saved. Hitchin was to regret the missed chance as Stevenage struck straight away, on the break and marginally beating the offside trap to easily score. The game continued at a frenetic pace and there was very little to choose between the two sides with Elodie again going close hitting a shot over the bar. At the other end Stevenage looked dangerous and Carmen and Emily both had to make important interventions. On 16 minutes Stevenage doubled their lead, the defence left stranded for an easy tap-in.

Hitchin now settled in for their best period of the game creating plenty of chances; Sophie, Maddy and Elodie again going close. At the other end Kerry had to pull off 2 excellent saves. Hitchin could not find the net and half time arrived with the score 0-2 to Stevenage. It had been an excellent first half with plenty of chances to both sides and on balance of play Hitchin could have been leading.

With a 2 goal deficit the coach decided to go for broke by going to a 4-3-3 formation with Elodie, Carmen and Beth in attack supported by Molly and Sophie on the wings. Unfortunately this attacking formation also created more space for Stevenage in midfield and the early stages of the 2nd half became a siege of the Hitchin goal with Kerry and her defence at full stretch. Stevenage won a procession of corners. On 41 minutes Kerry pulled off a remarkable point blank save at the expense of a corner. On 42 minutes Abigail produced a desperate goal line clearance. Hitchin was unable to produce any attacking football in this period and worse was to follow with Elodie forced out of the match after a blow to the head.

The pressure was bound to count with Stevenage finding the back of the net on 49 minutes and then again on 51 minutes. More pressure and corners followed but the defence was battling hard to keep the score respectable. As the second half progressed Hitchin started to create more attacking football with Carmen and Beth getting chances to shoot. On 68 minutes Hitchin deservedly got a goal back and Sarah did it all herself taking the ball past a couple of players, delaying her shot superbly and then passing the ball into the corner of the net.

Stevenage reacted strongly to losing a goal and this produced the moment of the match. With the Stevenage attack breaking at pace it looked certain they were going to score but Emily came flying in like an Exocet missile to take the ball off the toe of striker to save a goal at the expense of another corner. Unfortunately Stevenage got their 5th goal anyway from the resulting corner to run out deserved winners by 1-5.

Another heavy defeat for Hitchin Belles but the again the score line did not reflect the difference between the sides. Hitchin create plenty of chances but are just not scoring enough at this time. Kerry again was a star in goal and the defence and midfield had much better shape and battled throughout, their effort throughout the match could not be faulted. Player of the match went to Molly, only in her second game for Hitchin, who played with great effort and skill throughout.

Hitchin goal-scorers: Sarah

Player of the match: Molly

Report by: Dave Wrigley