Under 12 Team Photo Sunday 1st October 2006
Sunday, 1 October 2006
Hitchin Town Belles U12 2 v 2 Hemel Hempstead Town U12 B
Home Counties Girls Football League; U12 Division 2
Players: Beth, Ruby, Helen, Maddy, Sophie (Captain), Siobhan, Tamsin, Chloe, Amy, Casey, Christie, Carmen, Bethany, Yvette.
Just warming up in the rain
And the first goal rolls in
A very changeable Sunday morning sees Hitchin Belles attempting to win their third match in a row. Warm-up is disrupted by some very heavy rain and thunder in the distance, but these girls are made of stern stuff, and the match kicks off a little delayed at a quarter past noon, with the sun now shining.
Almost immediately Hitchin seize the initiative with a goal scored by Helen from close range - a goal up within the first couple of minutes! For most of the first half the Belles were well on top - plenty of pressure on the Hemel goal, with Beth in goal hardly seeing the ball. Amy, Chloe and Casey in defence looked very solid, with Christie, Maddy and Sophie dominating the midfield in front of them. Helen and Tamsin up front gave the Hemel defence plenty of problems, and it really felt like Hitchin would score again at any moment. So it came as quite a shock when a sudden break-out from Hemel around the mid-point of the half was poorly handled in the Hitchin defence leaving the Hemel striker one-on-one with Beth who couldn't stop the shot from finding the net. After this Hitchin again dominated; Helen had a real close-range attempt bravely blocked by the Hemel goalkeeper, Tamsin put a clear chance inches wide of the left hand post and Helen again had a good chance saved after breaking onto a good through ball from a throw. Just before half-time Ruby came on to join in the midfield, but Hitchin's efforts were not rewarded and the score-line at half time remained one-all.
At half-time Christie switched into goal, with Beth coming out to add her considerable strength to the attack. However the half started in the worst possible way for Hitchin. Hemel had the ball far out wide on their left wing, and what looked like an innocuous cross came into the Hitchin area, but no-one cleared it and in the end Christie could only get a touch on it that deflected the ball into our own net. Somehow we were now behind in the match - the vast majority of the pressure had come from Hitchin, and the same held true for the second half, but still we were losing the match. Chance after chance fell to Hitchin, but they could not convert any into goals. Two or three shots ran right across the Hemel goal-mouth, and a succession of corners put continued pressure on the Hemel defence, but we couldn't break them down. Hemel were clearly hanging on for the draw now, with their manager taking every opportunity to use up the time remaining with continuous substitutions. Beth was making some great attacking moves down our left flank, with Sophie matching her on the right, and Carmen really making her presence felt in the middle of attack, but still the goal wouldn't come. As the half went on it began to look as though the Belles were going to come out of the match with nothing to show for all their efforts! Into the dying minutes and the pressure keeps up, now the players are asking the referee how much time is left - Hemel players hoping to hang on for a few more minutes and Hitchin girls desparately straining for a goal to bring the match level. Happily for Hitchin, in the very last minute, Sophie made another great attacking run in from the right wing, and this time kept the ball under control into the area and loosed a shot that the Hemel goalie could not reach. A last-minute equaliser to salvage a point from the match.
Hitchin will feel that they should have been able to win this match; it defies belief that it took a goal in the first and the last minute for us to come away with just a draw, but that is football, and a draw is so much better than a loss that we must be pleased with the way the girls kept going right to the end and finally got at least part of their just reward.
Player of the match: Helen, scoring her first goal for the team today.
Report by John Davey