Sunday, 10 December 2006
Hitchin Town Belles U14 2 v 3 Watford
U14 Hertfordshire County cup semi final
Players: Elise, Alex, Roisin, Louise, (Captain) Sarah, Natalie, Lauren, Kerry, Monica, Sammy, Sian, Stephanie, Eva, Joanna.
Scorers Hitchin; Sammy (2)
Half Time; Hitchin 2 Watford 2
After not playing for 2 weeks due to water logged pitch, Hitchin had lost some of their match fitness and Watford certainly started as the brighter side and continued where they had left off last time and played a physical game. Following on from the very tight fought encounters in the last few games and the 2 penalties in the last match the cries of handball called out at every occasion when play was in the penalty areas fell upon deaf ears this time round. The foul count was well down but there were still some bone crunching tackles. Watford had a good first half and both teams were evenly matched however some very poor fouls led to Watford being rightly penalised and the awarding of 2 penalties put away very expertly by Sammy was a just reward for pushing in the area and an awful tackle from behind again on Sammy. Hitchin sharpened up and played very well in the second half dominating the match for long periods, however one goal was always going to be the difference between these two evenly matched sides and a break away goal completely against the run of play really punished Hitchin for not putting away the chances they created in the second half. Overall a fast paced match evenly fought but one could not help the feeling that Hitchin had been mugged and Watford had got the result against a technically better side, by being more determined and really wanting to win.
After 16 minutes Watford led 2 nil and thoughts of a Hitchin victory were as about as likely as a white Christmas, certainly Hitchin were playing Father Christmas to an Watford side who took their only 2 clear chances well. The rally started when Louise took a lovely free kick just outside the area which led a Watford player pushing over a Hitchin player in clear view of the referee, not the best idea of the day, penalty Hitchin. Up steps Sammy, bang ball in the back of the net and the revival was well and truly on. Monica played extremely well in defence and dealt with several dangerous balls very well, certainly if they had got behind her Hitchin would have been in trouble. Monica also distributed intelligently any ball she picked up stopping the pressure rebounding on the defence. More pressure from Hitchin was nearly rewarded when Alex hit a screamer of a shot and hit the woodwork. Good midfield work from Sarah, Stephanie and Louise saw Sammy dance free down the left wing and after leaving the last defender for dead was cynically scythed down in the area again right in front of the referee, bad idea number 2 of the day from Watford. Up steps Sammy, big shot and the ball flies into the back of the net. 2-2 and thoughts of victory were close. Hitchin had turned the tide and were looking the better team, like a boxer on the ropes the half time whistle soon after came as a welcome relief to Watford.
A good start by Hitchin and the few Watford attacks were well dealt with competently by Natalie, Lauren, Elise, Monica and Jo. Eva started to call for the ball well and really never had any shots to deal with. Sharn nearly made contact from some great passes from Stephanie, Sammy and Sarah but each scoring chance was agonisely just wide. Louise hit a cracking shot into the side netting and Sarah ran her heart out in midfield. Another free kick saw Sammy hit a beauty of a shot clipping the woodwork. With 5 minutes to go the home crowd was silenced by a fast breaking Watford who broke through to score the decisive goal. Hitchin battled bravely to recover the match but it was not to be. Great disappointment but Hitchin acquitted themselves well against a driven Watford side hungry for glory. Hitchin just need that match practice which the weather has denied them. However all still to play for in the season and with Hitchin riding high in the table with some less dangerous teams to play more wins are a certainty. The team continues to develop and has a great future.
Person of the match: This week there was one person who above all deserves the praise and that has to be Paul. At 6am on a Sunday morning he dragged out the goals by himself, put them up, re-laid the white lines and then sanded the really muddy areas. He then came back later to check everything was ok before finally coming back for the match. He then organised everyone to be early and spent time trying to get the team ready for one of their biggest challenges of the season. Despite a tough match Paul continued to be supportive, gave everyone a game and always looks for the positive rather than negative comment. Over the last 2 weeks Paul has gone out in awful weather to try and sort the pitch out. His dedication to the team and club are outstanding and his enthusiasm for football knows no bounds.
Report by Mike Thompson