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Hitchin Hearts Belles Under 15
Match Report 2009 - 2010

Sunday, 20th September 2009

Hitchin Hearts Belles 2 v 2 Luton Town Hatters

00702 hits since September 24, 2009

Hitchin Hearts Belles showed great character after last weeks heavy defeat against Garston, putting in a very strong performance to earn an excellent 2-2 draw at home to Luton Town Hatters. It was an excellent result and it could have been even better but for a controversial moment towards the end of the game.

Hitchin started with the same 4-5-1 formation as the previous week but with Elodie and Chloe missing through illness, there had to be some personnel changes in the starting team with Sophie taking on the loan striker role. Luton started more brightly but Hitchin gradually came into the game and were unlucky not to take the lead after 7 minutes; Beth providing the ball to Sophie in the penalty area and a Luton defender nearly scored in her own net. Luton was creating more chances, twice going close after quarter of an hour. Carmen and Beth both showed some strong touches at the back to break up promising Luton attacks. Much of the Luton threat was coming down the left and it became clear that conceding corners was going to be very dangerous. On the right side Dani was looking very assured on the ball, keeping possession well and was happy to take the ball out of defence on several occasions.

As the half progressed more chances were coming to Luton but a combination of strong defending and some wayward finishing prevented them from taking the lead. Sarah, Jess and Maddie were proving to be effective on the break and Hitchin went close on 35 minutes with Maddie just losing out to the goalkeeper. It looked like it would be goal-less at half time but 3 minutes into added time Luton took the lead. It was a poor goal to concede, the ball was not cleared by the defence and Molly’s save was bundled into the net on the rebound from 3 yards. To concede such a late goal in the half was hard on the defence who had worked so hard but on balance 0-1 was a fair reflection of the play and chances.

There were some positional changes for the second half in an effort to add more bite to the Hitchin attack; Beth moved to attack, with Alex going into defence and Helen into midfield. Luton started the second half as they finished the first on the attack, Alex clearing an attack at the expense of corner. Whilst Luton was very threatening from set plays, Molly continued to give an assured performance in goal. On 50 minutes the game changed. Sophie and Beth, who had been linking up well, created some space for Beth to go through on goal and she coolly rounded the goalkeeper to score in the empty net.

With the score at 1-1 with 30 minutes to go Luton responded strongly nearly scoring immediately, Alex forcing an attacker wide and the shot from an acute angle was well saved by Molly. Hitchin was now starting to stretch the game and starting to create more attacking play with Jess and Beth both having chances. On 65 minutes a Hitchin corner was fired in beautifully by Sarah and the ball was met on the volley at the near post by Sophie whose shot was just wide, an excellent passage of play. Hitchin continued to press and on 70 minutes deservedly took the lead. Sarah received the ball on the edge of the Luton area and produced a fierce shot which the Luton goalkeeper could only parry into the net. 2-1 with 10 minutes to go!

Could Hitchin hold on for a rare (first?) win over a Luton team? They looked quite comfortable for the next period of play and Luton was creating little in the way of clear cut chances. Carmen was very impressive at the back, tracking back and covering any breaks without any fuss. On 80 minutes Luton went close with Molly making another good save. Four minutes of added time was indicated and it was Hitchin who nearly scored, a long ball from midfield found Sarah whose shot went wide. Then 3 minutes into injury time the controversial moment. Carmen went shoulder to shoulder with a Luton player who fell to ground and the referee adjudged it to be a foul. It certainly looked like a soft decision and to make it worse Luton scored from the resultant free-kick. It has to be said this was a beautiful goal, a stunning strike from 25 yards that smashed into the top left corner of the net. There was barely time to restart the game and it finished 2-2.

A 2-2 draw was a fair result in a well contested and even game though it could have been even better. All thirteen Hitchin players should be proud of the effort and performance they put in. It is hard to single out individuals but Dani and Carmen in defence, Molly in goal, Beth in defence & attack and Sarah in midfield performed particularly well. Carmen was awarded player of the match.

Starting Lineup:

Hitchin goal-scorers: Beth, Sarah

Player of the match: Carmen

Report by: Dave Wrigley