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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 9th November 2008

Hitchin Hearts Belles †0 v 3† Watford Ladies U14

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Hitchin Bellesí losing streak continued on Sunday with a disappointing 0-3 defeat to Watford Ladies. As usual the game was far closer than the score line suggests but concession of 2 dozy goals early in the first half made the difference.

With Kerry unavailable, Alex had to take on the goalkeeping duties. The defensive four were Helen, Chloe, Ruby and Katie. Midfield consisted of Abigail, Maddy, Bethany and Sarah with Molly and Sophie in attack. Hitchin had 3 substitutes to call on; Ilana, Holly and late arrival Carmen. A significant factor in the game was the very strong wind and Hitchin had the advantage in the first half. It was therefore important that they use this advantage, particularly to get as many shots on goal as possible, but this generally failed to be the case.

Hitchin Belles started brightly enough creating most of the early pressure. Sarah and Abigail combined well to create a half chance. On 6 minutes Molly should have scored, latching on to an excellent high pass forward from Maddy, she managed to control the ball and go past the keeper but the angle had become too acute for her to shoot. As in previous weeks Hitchin were to regret missing these early chances by conceding 2 soft goals on 9 minutes and 12 minutes. On both occasions the goals came from a Hitchin goal kick with possession conceded too easily to Watford on the edge of the area allowing clear chances to score. It was loose football and this handed the initiative to the opposition early on in the game yet again. The defence has to be more aware in these situations.

0-2 down and the pressure was now on Hitchin to retrieve the situation. Whilst they had the bulk of possession and territory, they were not creating much in the way of goal scoring opportunities. Hitchin did force a series of corners which Sarah was firing well in to the box, Carmen almost scoring on 24 minutes but was surrounded by 3 defenders. Watford did have chances to extend their lead but a combination of poor finishing and strong goalkeeping from Alex kept the score down.

Half time arrived with the score at 0-2 and with the wind to contend with in the second half. It was important to play the second half with stronger discipline in defence and to seize the chances in attack. Hitchin started the second half brightly; good play by Helen on the left fed the ball to Carmen whose cross to Molly almost created a goal. From the resultant corner Carmenís shot was well saved. Watford now created a long period of sustained pressure winning corner after corner but the defence was holding out with Alex looking strong in goal. On 38 minutes Carmen had the best opportunity for The Belles, her initial shot was saved and her rebound effort went inches wide. Watford extended their lead on 41 minutes, Alex half saving a strong shot to see the ball trickle into the net.

Watford had the better of the remaining part of the match but the Hitchin defence held firm. At the other end more opportunities to score for Sarah and Carmen but it was not to be. The game ended at 0-3, the game effectively decided by 2 dozy minutes in the first half. As with most of the games this season, Hitchinís performance was much better in the 2nd half than the 1st, need to start games quicker! Again Hitchin created enough chances but are simply not scoring enough goals. Alex was awarded player of the match for her strong effort in goal.

Player of the match: Alex

Report by: Dave Wrigley