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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 15
Match Report 2009 - 2010

Sunday, 13th September 2009

Hitchin Hearts Belles 0 v 7 Garston Ladies

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The first game of the 2009/2010 season saw Hitchin Belles facing tough opponents in Garston Ladies and the result was a heavy 0-7 defeat. The game was defined by a mad 10 minute period in the latter part of the first half which saw Garston scoring 5 times. It was difficult for Hitchin to recover from this but they picked up their performance in the second half with great credit.

It was great to welcome two new players to the squad with Heather and Dani making their league debuts. Hitchin was able to field 14 players and lined up in a 4-5-1 starting formation, with Alex and Jess sitting between the back four and the progressive midfield.

Hitchin started brightly in an evenly contested opening. It was clear in the early exchanges that Garston carried great threat on the break and this was to prove the decisive factor. The first chance of the game fell to Hitchin; Carmen taking a free-kick in her own half fired a long ball that was picked up by Sarah on the edge of the opposition penalty area but she was tackled well to prevent her shot. Immediately Garston went on the attack forcing Molly to come to the edge of her area to clear only to see her kick hitting the hand of a Garston player and resulting in an easy goal. This was a clear case of ball to hand and not a foul.

At 0-1 Hitchin responded well forcing 3 corners in quick succession but were unable to force any clear chances. On 13 minutes Elodie provided an excellent cross for Sarah who was tackled at the expense of another corner. On 16 minutes Sophie had an opportunity one-on-one with a Garston defender who smothered the chance well. It is fair to say Garston were much more physical than Hitchin, particularly much more aggressive in the tackle. Hitchin could not take advantage of this period of attacking possession and in the space of 10 minutes they conceded 5 goals. The Hitchin defence was generally guilty of standing off the Garston attackers and not closing them down and as a result they were shooting at will. Molly was really not at fault for the deluge of goals.

0-6 down after 29 minutes and a rout was on the cards. It was important for Hitchin to respond positively and keep it tighter until half-time. Given the scoreline Molly showed no signs of lost confidence and produced 2 excellent saves in the latter stages of the half.

Half-time arrived at 0-6 to the visitors. The difference between the 2 sides was the physicality and aggression shown, Garston was being physical basically because Hitchin was not. The defence was not closing down the attackers enough and Garston had taken their chances very well. For the second half there was a small reorganisation; Bethan taking up position on the left side of defence. The second half started in a similar manner to the first with Garston pushing for further goals. Now though the Hitchin defenders were starting to perform, Carmen twice clearing dangerous situations. On 47 minutes Hitchin made a great break with Sarah combining with Heather to provide the ball to Jess on the edge of the area, unfortunately she could not get her shot away. At the back Bethan was enjoying her new role forcing a great block to prevent a shot and Molly pulled off a couple of good saves. The pressure was mostly from Garston and on 66 minutes they extended their lead to 0-7 with a weak goal. Again the Hitchin defence was slow to close down and a speculative shot trickled weakly into the goal.

Defensively Hitchin had been much better in the second half and they continued to battle until the end. Hitchin was producing some attacking play. On 75 minutes Helen provided the ball to Bethan on the right whose excellent cross towards Sarah was cut out for a corner to Hitchin. Then on 76 minutes Elodie supplied a good through ball to Heather on the edge of the area but her half chance went wide. On 80 minutes Dani got on the end of a Hitchin corner but her shot was saved.

The game ended at 0-7. Whilst the scoreline suggests a thrashing, the game was lost in 10 minutes before half-time. The second half was much tighter and shows what this Hitchin team is capable of. It is important going forward to match the opponents physically and to close down players quicker. All 14 players deserve credit for keeping going and improving a great deal in the second half. Special mention should go to Carmen and Bethan in defence and to Molly who deservedly got player of the match award for her efforts in goal.

Starting Lineup:

Player of the match: Molly

Report by: Dave Wrigley