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Hitchin Town Belles Under 12

 

Match Report 2006-2007

 

Team Photo; Click to expand
Under 12 Team Photo Sunday 29th April 2007

 

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Barnet Azurri  3 v 1  Hitchin Town Belles U12

Home Counties Girls Football League; U12 Division 2

 

Players: Bethan, Ruby, Christie, Helen, Maddy, Jasmine, Tamsin, Chloe (captain)
...and with guest appearances from Alex, Helen and Abigail from the U11 side.

 

00634 hits since September 3, 2007

 

The penultimate match of the season, and player numbers are a problem. Nigel worked hard phoning around on Saturday night to try to rustle up players, and happily was able to engage the services of three guest players from the Under-11s; welcome to Helen, Alex and Abigail. So, with 11 players we're ready to take on Barnet again. The team lineup has to shift about a bit to take account of the personnel changes; we start with Christie in goal, Abigail, Chloe and Ruby in defence with Alex playing in front of them, then Helen (U11), Jasmine and Bethan linking up with Tamsin playing in central attack and Helen (U12) and Maddy taking the wide attacking positions. the match started brightly enough for Hitchin - generally we seemed to have the better of the game for the first few minutes, and within 10 minutes the Belles thought they had a goal. Tamsin received a ball from Helen (U12) on the left of goal, took a shot which hit the bar, bounced down onto the goal line and rolled along the front of the goal before the Barnet goalie grabbed it. The Hitchin girls were sure it had crossed the line, but with no-one on the line to judge they had to accept the referee's decision and carry on with the game. Maybe this chance distracted the team, in any event almost immediately afterwards Barnet made a sudden break down their left to find themselves with 3 players unmarked bearing down on the Hitchin goal. The shot came from the left and it was a good one - Christie had no chance and suddenly Hitchin were 1-0 down.

 

GoodHeader; Click to expand AttackTheGoal; Click to expand

A powerful header

Attacking the Barnet goal

 

The Belles were not downhearted, and pushed straight back into attack. Just minutes later Tamsin had another shot on goal, this time the ball flew inches over the bar. Five minutes after that another great chance fell to Bethan as she chased down a 50/50 ball with the Barnet goalie - unluckily for Hitchin the goalie claimed the ball first, and Bethan went down with an ankle injury as a result. Happily Bethan is made of stern stuff, and a bit of water on the foot set her up to play again without any ongoing problems. Just after this incident the Belles suffered another setback. Under pressure from advancing Barnet players Jasmine worked hard to cover back to defend a loose ball, and sent it back towards the Hitchin goal - maybe not an intended pass, but when Christie picked it up the referee gave way to the Barnet claims and awarded a free kick. Hitchin organised a defensive wall, and all the players fully expected a shot to come in on goal, but when it arrived they could do nothing to stop it - it was perfectly hit to fly just under the crossbar into the goal. So now the Belles were 2-0 down, and still it felt as though they had had as much of the game as Barnet. The final few minutes of the first half were quite hard going for Hitchin - we seemed to have a series of goal kicks which never really got cleared out of our half. The girls were ready for the half time whistle and a chance to reflect on what was happening and try to work out how to turn it around.

 

HighKick; Click to expand BigThrow; Click to expand

That ball's mine!

An attacking throw

 

With no substitutes the options for change were limited, and the half-time talk focused more on how to convert the good work the girls were already doing into better results. The passing and interplay by the Belles in the first half had been excellent, and surely if they kept doing this the chances would come and some of them would be converted. The Belles started the second half well, putting lots of pressure on the Barnet defence from corners and throws on the right. Jasmine battled through the defence to have a run across the front of the goal, but just couldn't change direction quickly enough to get her shot on-target. And then, just over 5 minutes into the half, and for the third time in the game, Barnet broke away and converted an against-the-run-of-play chance into a goal. This time Chloe in defence found herself alone facing the oncoming attacker chasing the ball, and when she couldn't make a clean clearance the Barnet attacker swooped onto the ball and put in a shot that again left Christie with no chance of a save. Hitchin were 3-0 down, and the girls could be forgiven for feeling a little downhearted, but their real spirit showed through and they kept going.

 

The remainder of the match saw Hitchin well and truly on top - plenty of pressure on the Barnet goal including good opportunities from a series of corners. Chances fell to many of the Hitchin players; both Helens had shots, one just wide and one saved by the goalie. Beth and Tamsin also a go, Tamsin's effort parried by the goalie to fall for a second chance which Tamsin just scuffed a little and so failed to convert. Finally, with around 25 minutes gone, and too late to really make a difference, Hitchin got a reward for their efforts. The goal came from an excellent sequence of play, starting with a short goal kick to Helen (U12) who passed it on to Ruby, she in turn made a solid clearing pass out to the left side where Bethan picked it up. A couple of further touches down the left wing saw Bethan running onto the ball on the edge of the area and a quick shot from distance flew past the Barnet goalie into the net. The final minutes saw more pressure from Hitchin, and right into the countdown of the final 90 seconds the girls battled away to try and get something more from this match, but it was not to be. The whistle went with the score still 3-1 to Barnet.

 

The result was disappointing for the Belles, and they can feel that they were a little unlucky. They played well throughout, and had chances that just wouldn't go in. Barnet made the most of the few real chances that fell to them, and in the end that is what wins the game. One more match to come for Hitchin - we finish the season the way we started it, with a match against Bedwell. Let's hope the girls play even better than they did today, and get that bit of fortune that converts a good performance into a good win.

 

Video action

A very short snippet - Belles attacking

 

Player of the match; Click to expand

Players of the match: the terrific trio from the U11s - Alex, Helen and Abigail

 

Report by John Davey.