Today we welcome Bradford City to Shaw lane. We knew this was going to be a tough game for the girls and a real test for them. Going up against a team in the top league and with a Name like that as well (those colours are just awful) definitely prefer the white of the mighty LEEDS!! Also add into this, the girls had to contend with two of our own supporters wearing Bradford colours and one of these being our line’s man as well… Blimey – ha ha! You know who you are…
Joking aside we’d heard some rumblings about how the girls had been feeling worried about this match, and so, after a quick pep talk we discussed not to think about losing, especially before we’ve even kicked a ball. We looked to get them thinking about enjoying the opportunity they have and just make sure they played their best and get stuck in, which they did!!
During our team talk, we discussed the learnings from our last match and how we shouldn’t fear failure – don’t be scared to have a go – be out of our comfort zone, take a long shot, run at the opposition and take them on. Hold play up and hold onto the ball and if you make a mistake then so be it, but it’s so important that they are up to this challenge!
The girls listened well and they really got stuck in and because they were having to play quicker and not having the time to over think their game, we saw them rise in confidence and take risks – and best of all they didn’t have a clue what they were doing this. Hard high balls were being brought down with one touch and controlled beautifully at times by using their chest, inside of the foot, outside of the foot or leg and the space was really visible, moving in triangles with some good quick one touch passing.
We closed play down quicker and the tackling was really hard and crunching at times, even the Bradford managers commented on how the team don’t take any prisoners, a few volleys being thrown in there as well, long balls and just being a nuisance at times. We just lacked that bit of a pace from an out and out front player that our opponents unfortunately had.
Dayna and the defence had been asked to think about a quicker delivery out for the keepers balls and we saw this working well and causing our opponents problems at times. Sofia and those working in defence got higher than ever. Penny kept nibbling away to the point where on one occasion the Bradford player gave up and just passed the ball back in her own third, as she couldn’t get past her. Which then found its way to Sofia from just outside the opponents box (that’s how high the girls had pushed them back) a quick pass over to the other side of the box (I think Gracie may have got a touch, but to be honest the build-up and passing was go good I’d got a bit giddy by then) and then for a second match in a row ”up steps a cool calm Ruby” taking the touch first and then bang! Straight into the net, even the Bradford managers commented on the composure. A proper team goal – it was shear excellence girls and very well deserved.
Both Ella and Ellie ran at the Bradford City players, never giving up and they tried and tried, to get the ball through the defence getting countless rebounds from the tackles and keeping the run going taking plenty of players on and muscling the opponents off the ball. Ella played some great passes around the pitch and did well to stop the attacks, also getting back to defend and close the opponents down making some heavy tackles and picking up an ankle injury. Ellie was our Captain for the today and was her usually smiley self, always looking for goal when playing up front trying to twist and turn around our opponents, she’s making good progress at threading the throw balls to the front player and holding play up well, whilst her team mates joined in the attack. Another proper little muscler.
Charlotte really got stuck in today and was trying so hard to get a goal of her own when playing up front turning the opponents defence. Her receiving of the ball and letting it go past her, whilst spinning on to it is becoming really good.
Ruby made some good runs and listened to the challenge about keeping space and not to get dragged into the mix as a lot of the action seemed central today. And for the second match in a row, pops up with a proper goal poacher’s goal “Two in Two”… Are we missing a trick with her pace and cool calm head in front of net!!
Phoebie was constantly looking for the ball and one thing we have asked her to think about is her positioning and to try conserve energy. Some of the tackling and ball blocking was made with really good accurate timing and having a go at a couple of great volleys. She played well when in defence again and never gave up trying to push the attacker in to making a mistake or take an early shot.
Sofia got the joint opponents player of the day, shared with Dayna – another team not happy to just give it to just one player. She was constantly pushing her attacking player wide and making the angle difficult for them, stopping plenty of attacks which came at us with real pace at times and also playing some great balls forward into midfield. Her part in the Guiseley goal was excellent, showing why we encourage the defence to think about keeping the run going and push to get high up the pitch.
Both Gracie and Abi bossed the heavy tackles and muscling the ball from the Bradford players (to be honest the whole team did brilliantly with this) but these two seem to be getting quite good at upsetting the opponents and yet again, were involved in the match play banter !! Gracie was involved with creating some lovely build up play driving the All Stars forward and giving everything for the cause, playing the second striker well and then tracking back to provide that extra cover in midfield and covering all areas of the pitch. Abi played our defence midfield role and provided some great extra cover for the defence. The tackling stopped the play dead at times, and we saw a couple of lovely runs taking the players on and providing some great long shots and passes, she was constantly passing instructions around the pitch to her team mates as well.
Penny’s build up for our goal was class, not giving up and using both feet to get past the players in front of her, we saw her making some lovely runs down the wing and passes to the front player also cutting in, to help with the attack. Her position to receive the ball from defence is excellent and really brings the wide play to life.
Super Sweeper Keeper Sutcliffe made some simply awesome saves with both feet, legs, hands, catching high balls brilliantly and pushing balls wide, also running out to close the angles down and kicking on coming balls back up the pitch with confidence. She stopped some really powerful close range shots and made it look simple whilst standing firm and strong. A really strong performance.
So as with the last few matches, we saw the opponents come over and speak to the girls after the match about how well they’d played. The girls really made us proud today, their heads never went down and they just kept going and going despite the score line and both myself and Jeremy can’t emphasise this enough. We really did see a lot of hard work and determination from the girls and some great extra skills as well…