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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 23rd November 2008

Hitchin Hearts Belles 2 v 5  Luton Town

00820 hits since November 30, 2008

Hitchin Hearts Belles produced their best performance of the season on Sunday, going down by 2-5 to high flying Luton. Their performance in the second half in particular was impressive, out scoring and out playing the opposition.

The day did not start promisingly. Conditions were dreadful with a sodden pitch and freezing rain. Hitchin had only 12 girls available with several key players missing. With Kerry unavailable the goal keeping duties were handed to Sarah for the entire game. Starting in defence were Chloe, Helen, Emily and Ruby. The midfield quartet was Alex, Maddie, Abigail and Carmen with Molly and Sophie up front. Ilana started the game as substitute. As the conditions were so poor the game was reduced from 70 minutes to 60 minutes.

It should go without saying that it was important for Hitchin to start strongly and with good discipline, in nearly every game this season the initiative has been handed to the opposition in the early stages of the match. Unfortunately this contest with Luton was no different. With only 2 minutes on the clock Luton took the lead, breaking through a static Hitchin defence to score easily past Sarah. Hitchin responded well nearly scoring from a corner when the Luton goalkeeper fumbled. However Luton continued to threaten on the break, Emily and Chloe needed to cut out dangerous attacks. Luton doubled their lead on 15 minutes; again it was from a break from midfield when a Luton striker showed great strength to get past several defenders and to fire strongly into the top of the net.

Almost straight from the second goal Ruby produced a spectacular handball which resulted in a free kick for Luton in dangerous position 25 yards out. The kick was struck beautifully but was very well saved by Sarah. On 17 minutes Hitchin should have equalised; Molly and Abigail exchanging passes creating an easy chance for Abigail 6 yards out but she shot straight at the goal keeper. Luton scored their third on 21 minutes with a good high shot. Still Hitchin pressed; Molly and Abigail again combining to supply Carmen whose shot was just wide. As Hitchin pushed forward they were left more exposed at the back and Luton punished this scoring their fourth goal after 27 minutes.

Halftime arrived with Hitchin 4 goals down. The difference between the sides was simply finishing; Luton had 6 attacks in the first half scoring 4 times, Hitchin had a similar number of chances without converting any. So not much to choose between the two sides in the first half but Hitchin found themselves 0-4 down and facing a drubbing.

The second half started with Luton on top and forcing a series of corners without threatening to add to the score. After weathering the early storm Hitchin increasingly took control. On 38 minutes Carmen showed great strength to hold of the physical challenge from 2 Luton defenders only to shoot wide. Hitchin again went close on 43 minutes, Abigail and Carmen supplying Sophie whose shot was again wide. 2 minutes later Hitchin deservedly scored, Carmen following up her own shot to score from a rebound. Hitchin was now having the best of the play and the Luton team was clearly rattled. More chances came to The Belles with Abigail and Carmen going close.

Somewhat against the run of play Luton added a fifth goal after 56 minutes, passing the ball around well they created space on the left side of the area creating a clear chance to score. With 2 minutes left Hitchin scored their second goal. From a Luton goal kick the ball went straight to Carmen who hit the ball beautifully from 25 yards into the corner of the goal.

The game ended 2-5. If only Hitchin could start games as they perform in the second half, certainly they would not be languishing at the bottom of the table. Given the encouraging performances in the last 2 games Hitchin will win more games in the second half of the season. It was a super team performance with everyone playing their part but special mention should go to Alex, Molly and Abigail in midfield and Carmen in attack for strong performances.

Hitchin goal-scorers: Carmen(2)

Player of the match: Abigail

Report by: Dave Wrigley