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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 14
Match Report 2008 - 2009

Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Hitchin Hearts Belles U14 1 v 1 Barnet Azzurri U14

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This home game against Barnet Azzuri was an entertaining and open encounter which finished level at 1-1. A draw was a fair result though Hitchin Belles took the lead through an outstanding goal and led until two minutes from the end.

With 12 players available, Nigel decided to start again with the 4-1-4-1 formation that had served so well in the previous game against Luton. Sarah was forced to take on the goalkeeping duties and the defensive four were Emily, Chloe, Helen and Ilana. Maddy played the linking role in front of the defence with Elodie, Sophie, Molly and Abigail in midfield. Carmen took on the lone striker role with the expectation that the midfield would support her attacks as needed. Leah started the game as substitute.

There were few good chances for either side in the first half though the game was played at a high tempo with plenty of possession for both teams. On 4 minutes a good through ball from Chloe put Carmen through on goal with the Barnet goalkeeper a long way off her line, but it was adjudged to be offside. On 6 minutes Hitchin forced 2 corners but they were comfortably dealt with. Barnet did carry some threat on the break but the Hitchin defence was in total control. A chance fell to Elodie on 13 minutes from a good pass by Ilana, but her shot was fired across the Barnet goal and wide. On 16 minutes a promising attack by Barnet was ended by a wonderful covering tackle from Emily.

As the first half progressed Barnet began to take more control enjoying the better of territory but without creating many clear-cut chances. On 28 minutes they did go close to grabbing the opening goal, shooting across the goalmouth with nobody able to get on the end of the shot. Just before half-time Barnet should really have taken the lead from a corner but the ball was volleyed high over the bar from only a couple of yards out.

Half time arrived with the score at 0-0. The play in latter part of the half had been narrow and in midfield with Barnet starting to dominate. It was therefore important for Hitchin Belles to try and spread the play wider. It was also noticeable that the Barnet goalkeeper was tending to come along way off her line and this could create opportunity in the second half.

Hitchin certainly picked upped their game in the second half and started with more positively forcing a corner in the first minute. On 40 minutes an excellent interchange between Helen and Abigail who then beat a defender and created an opening only for the goalkeeper to claim the ball. Then on 48 minutes Maddy played a lovely ball through to Elodie whose attacking run was stopped by a foul on the edge of the area. The Barnet keeper well saved the resultant free kick from Elodie at the expense of a corner and this led to the defining moment of the game. The corner was cleared beyond the edge of the area to Maddy who from more than 30 yards out thumped the ball high into the roof of the Barnet net for possibly Hitchin’s goal of the season!

Hitchin Belles continued to push for the second goal that surely would have been the match winner. On 56 minutes Elodie charged forward, beating a defender but her shot was forced wide for another corner. In the following minutes Abigail, Carmen and again Elodie had more chances to score. It was really end-to-end football by now with Sarah forced to pull off a good save to deny the visitors on 62 minutes. Could Hitchin hold on for a rare win? It was not to be. With only 1 minute left on the clock Barnet had another attack. For the first time in the game the Hitchin defence looked edgy and they were unable to clear the ball and a Barnet player fired well into the corner of the net from 12 yards to equalise. With a couple of minutes injury time to play Barnet now looked the more likely winners shooting just wide from long range.

The game ended at 1-1 and a draw was certainly a fair reflection of the game. Again all 12 Hitchin players take credit, as the season progresses the team gets better and better (with fewer resources). Sarah in goal and the defensive five, including Leah, looked safe and they were unlucky to concede the late goal. Abigail had a particularly fine game in midfield battling hard and winning the ball on many occasions. The player of the match award went to Maddy, not only for her superb goal but also for her strong tackling and effective passes she played through to the forwards.

Hitchin goal-scorers: Maddy

Player of the match: Maddy

Report by: Dave Wrigley