|Under 12 Team Photo Sunday 14th January 2007|
Sunday, 14 January 2007
Enfield Town Ladies U12 B 1 v 1 Hitchin Town Belles U12
Home Counties Girls Football League; U12 Division 2
Players: Christie, Abby, Amy, Ruby, Maddy, Carmen, Helen, Bethan, Sophie (Captain), Tamsin, Chloe.
Having navigated ourselves to deepest Southgate for our afternoon kickoff, captain for the day Sophie wins the coin toss and Hitchin Belles take the kick-off at just after 2PM to start the match.
Beth makes important early save
Belles on the attack
The starting formation finds Beth in goal, Chloe, Christie, Amy and Ruby covering the defence, Abby, Carmen, Maddy and Sophie taking midfield and the forward pairing of Helen and Tamsin acting as target women. The very start of the match sees some important action in the Hitchin goal, with Beth making two really important saves early on. The first Enfield chance resulting in a well-hit shot which Beth got right behind and held onto well, and the second chance coming with an Enfield player advancing on goal with the ball at her feet - this time Beth smothered the ball on the ground with a really brave save. All this in spite of Hitchin having the better of the game, and spending the majority of the time in the Enfield half and in possession of the football.
Gradually Hitchin started to put more pressure on Enfield, with Helen making a series of runs down the right wing. If she could have got the final ball into the box for Carmen, Sophie or Tamsin to finish off Enfield would have been in real trouble. After 25 minutes Hitchin's best chance so far fell to Helen after Sophie intercepted a goal kick and returned the ball towards the Enfield goal with both Carmen and Helen close by. The shot fell to Helen, and sadly it just dribbled narrowly past the outside of the left post. Just five minutes later Enfield had a very real chance when a break-away attack beat the Hitchin defenders and the Enfield player found herself one-on-one with goalie Beth just inside the Hitchin penalty area. The shot was a little hurried, and went straight at Beth who managed to hold onto the ball - a close escape for the Belles. Almost directly in response to this Abby collected the ball in her own half, ran all the way up the left wing and then beat the final Enfield defenders and rolled the ball past the Enfield goalie into the net. Hitchin one-nil up, and generally pretty much in control. The last few minutes of the first half saw more Hitchin pressure, with a series of corners taken by Chloe putting more pressure on Enfield, but no goals resulted and the half ended with Hitchin holding the lead by their single goal.
Belles attacking again
It must go in - but it didn't
At half time Hitchin made their familiar change-around with Christie taking up the goalie's gloves and Beth coming out to lend her strength on-field. The Enfield manager must have done a good job at half-time, as Enfield came out looking a much stronger and more resolute team in the second half. Within five minutes they thought they had levelled the match when a scruffy episode of play in the Hitchin penalty area exposed the Belles' inability to make a good clearance, and an Enfield player finally got a boot to the ball and put it in the net. Enfield were disappointed to discover that the goal had been ruled off-side, and Hitchin sighed in relief. Gradually Hitchin built up their game again, and came more into the match as time went on. Chances fell to a number of players, but all our shots either missed the target or hit the goalie - Tamsin was unfortunate not to score on a couple of occasions, and Carmen also could have had a goal or two to her name with a little more luck (or accuracy!).
After around half an hour of tense football, it was Enfield who got the break - the Hitchin defence was caught out of position, playing a lone advanced Enfield player on-side. The shot came in and Christie had no chance of stopping it. With just minutes to go the match was all-square. To their great creadit the Hitchin team picked themselves up and committed straight back to trying to reclaim the initiative. In the very last minutes of the match Beth could have won it for Hitchin, but as so many times before the Enfield goalie frustrated her efforts and stopped Beth's shot. So the match ended a draw - Hitchin may feel they had the better of the game overall, and certainly they had more clear chances to score, but we need to work on our finishing if we are to convert chances to goals, and draws to wins.
Player of the match: Carmen - a spirited and energetic performance as always.
Report by John Davey.