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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 14th December 2008

Luton Town 6 v 0  Hitchin Hearts Belles

00862 hits since December 18, 2008

On the face of it this was another heavy defeat for Hitchin Hearts Belles, losing 6-0 away at Luton, but this does not tell the full story. Several late withdrawals from the team meant that Hitchin had to face one of the strongest teams in the division with only 10 players. In spite of this, Hitchin gave a performance full of character and fight, and all the players deserve huge credit.

Hitchin lined up with a 4-4-1 formation with Alex taking on the goal keeping duties. The defensive four were Emily, Leah, Helen and Ilana. Midfield had Maddie, Abigail, Sophie and Carmen with Bethan alone upfront. The conditions were poor; a great deal of rain the previous day left the pitch very soft and heavy.

Not surprisingly Hitchin made a nervy start to the game and Luton had most of the early possession and territory. The Belles were forced to play very defensively packing the penalty area. Luton won a number of corners and the pressure was to tell, Luton taking the lead after only 4 minutes. Luton continued to press and on 8 minutes Alex made the save of the season, diving to her right to push the ball past the post. From the resultant corner a Luton shot hit the crossbar, if there was one criticism of the Hitchin players at this time it was that they were not closing down the Luton forwards fast enough.

Whilst Luton was creating most of the chances it was not all one-way. On 12 minutes a good passing combination between Abigail and Bethan created a half chance that resulted in a Hitchin corner. On 13 minutes Luton scored again and then it could have been worse but for 2 more excellent saves by Alex. On 19 minutes it was 3-0, a scruffy goal with the defence unable to clear. Luton had more chance including the miss of the century on 25 minutes, a Luton player managing to scoop the ball over the bar from all of 2 yards out. Towards the end of the half Hitchin had a great chance to get a goal back, Abigail supplying Sophie whose shot was just wide.

3-0 down at half-time, considering the numerical disadvantage this had been a strong effort. For the second half more of the same was needed and The Belles actually started to play even better. Straight after the restart Bethan went close with a shot from an acute angle. Sophie, Bethan and Abigail then combined to create another opportunity. On 40 minutes Luton nearly scored again, Alex parrying a shot and Maddie on hand to clear off the line. Ilana then played a lovely through ball from midfield that nearly allowed Bethan to get into a shooting position. In the first 15 minutes of the second half Hitchin had actually been on top, but then Luton scored twice in quick succession to make the score 5-0.

Still Hitchin tried to compete and produced more chances, Leah laying the ball onto Carmen whose shot from a wide angle went close. Luton scored one more time near the end to make it six.

The game ended 6-0 which in the circumstances was a fantastic performance. All ten players take enormous credit for playing with such spirit for the team, it is such a shame that they were not at full strength. A player missing through illness or other commitments is totally understandable, dropping out late for no reason just lets the side down. It is difficult to single out individuals from such a strong team performance but Alex in goal made saves I think even surprised her!. In defence Emily and Leah made some excellent tackles, Carmen, Abigail and Maddie all performed heroically in midfield.

Player of the match: Team Award

Report by: Dave Wrigley