Sunday, 11 March 2007
Princes Park 1 v 0 Hitchin Town Belles U14
Players: Elise, Alex, Roisin, Louise (Captain), Sarah, Natalie, Lauren, Kerry, Monica, Sammy, Sian, Stephanie, Eva, Joanna.
Half Time; Princes Park 1 Hitchin 0
This was a tough away match against a physically strong side who while not scoring a lot do not concede goals either.
The pitch was terrible with the biggest slope seen this side of Everest and it even had a full size ski lift it was that big. The view over the lake was spectacular and the sound of distant gunfire added to its already surreal qualities.
The effect the pitch had on the match was dramatic Princes Park kicking with the wind and into the ski slope spent most of the first half camped in the Hitchin half, (base camp) after half time with the slope to their advantage Hitchin spent most of the second half in the Princes Park half. One goal separated the 2 teams and it was a slightly flukey one at that. One could not escape the feeling Hitchin had been another victim of a North London mugging but the team must really want to win playing against tough opposition like Princes Park.
A scrappy match marred by some interesting decisions on the pitch but you create your own luck in football and the team pressing forward will always get the advantage.
Neither side really created any clear cut scoring chances and at times the ball ricochet around like a mad pin ball machine cannoning off opposing players before disappearing towards the lake and the slightly crazed swan hit by too many footballs that lived there.
Princes Park started brightly assaulting the slope and forcing an early corner as the Hitchin players without one leg shorter than the other tried to cope with the gradient. The defensive quartet of Lauren Natalie, Monica and Roisin dealt well with the early attacks and Monica made some great stops. Natalie really booted the ball clear on a number of occasions and at the bottom of the slope Roisin made some great twists and turns to win the ball back and feed it out. Lauren again ran her heart out acting as a defensive sweeper snuffing out any half chances.
Eva bravely came out to some early attacks but the defensive work was undone when Princes Park scored direct from a corner.
Hitchin rallied with Sammy and Louise attacking cleverly to put the pressure on. Sian was very brave as the lone striker taking some real blows and getting up bravely however, there were few scraps for her to seize upon.
Steph and Sarah tracked back really well to add some clout in midfield and defence but to be fair the ball was just being hit towards the bottom of the slope there was no midfield game to be played.
Alex’s speed continues to amaze and she is rumoured to be faster than a cheetah but with the ball bouncing like a crazy Frisbee poor Alex was chasing shadows.
With the wind behind them and the slope in their favour, Hitchin pushed forward. Sammy made some great runs one almost the length of the pitch but the Princes Park defence remained robust. Louise chased down every ball and Jo coming on as a substitute really packed a punch in knocking back several attacks not only winning the ball but also setting up the counter attack. Louise again hit some great free kicks to cause pandemonium in the opposition defence. As the clock wound down Sarah made some darting runs to put through some great balls but again they were cleared. Steph met a good cross and unfortunately her spectacular overhead kick was saved by the goalkeeper. Despite a lot of Hitchin pressure with the odd counter attack from Princes Park the chances did not fall Hitchin’s way. The final score was 1-0 and despite playing some attractive football and as always, especially a delight to watch Sammy’s nutmegs of the defenders no points to show for it.
The travel to North London seems to have sapped the team’s spirit slightly but no matter another good challenge next week Harvesters A away and Hitchin can go there with confidence.
Hitchin continue to grow and their footballing skills for such a young team are very good, however some harsh lessons were learnt today but of the 2 teams the one with the real potential today was Hitchin. Attitude is key and as a team they must go into these matches wanting to win, believing they can and they have the ability in bucket loads to do so. The Cambridge and Tottenham results prove that.
A difficult decision as Hitchin played as a team and though no one individual shone it was a team effort unfortunately without the right result.
Report by Mike Thompson