Sunday, 22 April 2007
Cambridge City 5 v 2 Hitchin Town Belles U14
Players: Elise, Alex, Roisin, Louise (Captain), Sarah, Natalie, Lauren, Kerry, Monica, Sammy, Sian, Stephanie, Eva, Joanna.
Scorers Hitchin; Natalie (1) Sammy (1)
Half Time; Cambridge 2 Hitchin 1
A tough match away to a very good Cambridge side that were looking for revenge following the last match when Hitchin dumped Cambridge out of the Cup. The weather was great for sun bathing and ice creams but not for football and the heat took its toll on a 11 girl Hitchin side which meant Paul had no fresh legs to bring on and in the second half as the brave Hitchin team started to tire whilst the opposition rotated their players, Cambridge made the most of the situation to score the vital goals.
The scoreline is slightly misleading as the first half was close and Hitchin equalised in the early stages of the second half before a determined Cambridge team overcame them. A spirited performance by the team and they never stopped trying. A good end to end game to watch and notable for a rare goal from Natalie who even rarer she smacked the ball into the net using her head just as she headed off the line last week.
5 more games until the end of the season with a tough away match at Enfield before a Tuesday 1 May match against Luton at the Hitchin Town ground kick off 7 pm followed by a series of slightly less challenging games against some of the leagues less strong sides should give Hitchin the chance to consolidate or even move up the league table.
A very fast start to the game with Cambridge making their intentions very clear with a series of probing attacks. However early on Sammy created space and let fly with a good shot only to be stopped by the goalkeeper. Sammy then repeated her good work again dancing past defenders only for her shot to be saved. Eva was bought into the game early to make a good save. Louise back as Captain ran tirelessly and really tried to thread the passes together and had a good shot at goal. However it was Cambridge that scored first to make it 1-0. Cambridge then started to press strongly and Lauren also returning back to the team was great in covering back and being the last defender covering her teammates and helping them out. On the right in defence Monica made a series of excellent challenges to nullify the Cambridge attacks and after winning the ball she used it cleverly to start off Hitchin attacks. Jo worked very hard on the left and made some very good tackles against a very fast opposition, her reading of the game was good. Natalie had a great first half making some excellent tackles and frustrating the Cambridge forwards, despite her bleeding leg injury she really gave it her all. And made a series of crucial challenges.
Hitchin as a team were challenging strongly for the ball and the midfield of Stephanie and Sarah tracked back well. Alex and Roisin despite being smaller than their counterparts really pressurised the opposing players well and won the ball in the 50/50 challenges.
A further Cambridge attack led to goalmouth scramble that saw the ball bundled home to make it Cambridge 2 Hitchin 0. Lesser teams would have given up at this point but Hitchin kept battling and their attitude bought results, Sarah on one her usual powering good runs was fouled about 30 yards from goal. Sammy took the free kick and hit a beautiful curling pass right into the box to allow Natalie to soar above the defenders and head the ball straight into the top left corner of the goal, a cracking goal from Natalie.
Half time came shortly afterwards.
Hitchin started brightly and were much more adventurous in pushing forward through some intelligent runs and passes. Sammy looked dangerous on the left and made a tremendous run to leave the defence for dead before intelligently lobbing the keeper with a great shot. The game was all-square at 2-2.
This galvanised Cambridge who really came at Hitchin and despite some great running and tackles by Stephanie and Sarah in midfield legs were beginning to tire and Cambridge made it 3-2 with an unstoppable shot. Louise kept running well, probing the defence and Sammy and Alex ran their legs off in attack but Cambridge really piled on the pressure and despite some resolute last ditch defending and a one handed diving save from Eva, Cambridge scored again. A corner saw another chance created to be finished ruthlessly by Cambridge to make it 5-2. The Hitchin players continued to push forward and defend well and made some good chances only to be stopped by Cambridge’s last ditch defending.
The final score remained 5-2, which in fairness was not quite a reflection of how hard Hitchin tried and how well they played.
A very fast match played in hot temperatures and the Hitchin team acquitted themselves well today against the league’s top side.
Natalie Thompson: An outstanding performance in the heart of defence in the first half, followed up by scoring with a rocket of a header, Natalie probably played her best ever game for the team today.
Report by Mike Thompson