YES! YES! YES! Finally we get to play a match, it’s been weeks and weeks since the girls kicked a ball in match day anger, due to all the cancellations. So the first challenge was keeping them calm and getting back into the match day zone. Oh! and to flatten the large frozen divots on the 11v11 pitch and to keep warm, – blimey! it really was cold today.
To those who helped set up and take down, Thank You, Thank You!! Also thanks to Stuart for providing the linesman duties.
Durkar only had 8 players today and so in theory, we had plenty of subs to choose from and so the girls could really get out there and give 100% for most of the match and so the team talk was around how to really apply pressure to Durkar given our advantage. We remembered that they didn’t like a hard tackle and didn’t cope well when we played at a fast pace and closed down quickly, so the lack of players should really play into our hands.
So with the pitch flattened and the girls pumped and ready to go, they came out charging and started brightly, with some great passing and running with the ball! A really big positive for us today, was the amount of running with the ball the girls were actually able to undertake and this was visible throughout the whole match. Another was some of the controlling with the first touch – chesting and using the the inside of the foot and then turning with the ball – must have been the awesome training drill Jeremy set up.
Joking aside, Yes the Durkar team looked to have more hunger for goal today as the match went on and were definitely dressed better for the occasion (Hats, Gloves, Skins) but our girls did deliver some brilliant through balls and passing skills, Graice’s Maradona turn on the wing, Abi’s and Ellie’s Cruyff Turns in midfield, Ella’s no nonsense running at the defenders and the teams muscling for the ball from all areas was great to watch, not forgetting Dayna’s heart stopping midfield clearance, when playing in goal.
So here comes a request from Myself and Jeremy – Girls!!! you may not like wearing, Gloves, Hats ,Skins but as we saw today, once you’re cold it is game over!! We can’t have you stood freezing guys, please have a think about how cold you were today, if you’re cold, you simply can’t perform to your best!!
Phoebie started well today on the left wing, making some good runs and passing through with the outside of her foot, but was tripped early on and took a really heavy fall on her hip which actually looked to be the Durkar player taking a dislike to Phoebies earlier challenge . Despite trying her best to go back on and have another go, she clearly was struggling. Top marks for trying though Phoebie.
Charlotte who was playing with her wrist in a splint, never even looked to give it a second thought, getting stuck in – in midfield and making some great runs down the right wing, really taking the opponents on. When playing up front, she found herself in some brilliant positions. Unfortunately about 5 of these were just Off Side! just a little bit too keen to make the run, but with a bit of work with her in this area, she looks like she really could open the front up for us. Great positioning.
Ruby seemed a bit quieter today, but as we’ve come to see from her, once on the ball made some fast runs down the right wing and made some great tackles. Due to Dayna coming out, Ruby had a stint in goal as well, and made a couple of great saves and showed her fearless side.
Sofia showed some great control with her first touch today, lots of jumping to chest the ball down and then, either getting down the wing or releasing into midfield, and stopping the Durkar attack dead. When actually playing in Midfield she created and set up Ellie’s super duper goal, although at the next glance she was back in defence (This is like a Gremlins moment) No matter how much she cries, No matter how much she begs, Never, Never, let her move back into Defence – ha ha!) Joking a side, great job today Sofia and looking so confident on the ball a real tower of strength.
Penny started up front for us today, in training she has shown a great awareness for goal and using both feet as well so we thought we’d see how she faired playing as striker, She made a great contribution for us and came close on many occasions, and then moved back to midfield, where she showed her footwork and turning skills. A real delight to watch at times and also picking up the joint opponents player of the day with Ellie.
Clare had a tough game with the winger she was up against today, who really was quick and skilful. At half time we asked her to think about keeping the ball, take the touch and be confident on the ball as we know she can be. In the second half she got hold of the right wing and you could tell the difference straight away.
Ellie was driving the ball forward constantly, and if the opponents were in the way, she just seemed to push and push until she got wat she wanted. Never giving up, which when playing as the second striker is so important. But her first touch to get the ball under control and turning was great today, and the goal shot between the defenders and slotting it to the right of the keeper into the bottom corner was class. As with Penny, picked up the joint opponents player of the day.
Gracie was todays captain she made some crucial tackles and threading the ball through to get the front player in on goal or having a go herself. She also had a stint in goal for a quarter as well, and as with Dayna and Ruby made a good contribution to the cause. Top marks for having a go at the Maradona turn on the wing as well, great to see the girls being confident enough to try the skills.
Super Sweeper Keeper Sutcliffe became at one with the ground (her words) freezing to the pitch. As always she made some great saves and also coming well off the line to challenge an oncoming attacker, and punting it back up the pitch. We’ve always challenged to her to come off her line, but this time it was a really high clearance, great awareness and speed to win the ball. So into midfield she went , tackling, winning balls, running back and trying to thread the ball through, despite looking absolutely frozen. One area we have asked Dayna to work on is looking to be more vocal with the defence, and getting the ball to them quicker from the goal kicks.
Abi was really on it today, getting stuck in from the off, the crunching tackles, muscling the opponents off the ball and really helping the defence. She’s been challenged with looking to run with the ball more and we saw this in abundance today, in fact, there were countless cries to “ get out of the way” as she came bossing through with a look of being on a mission on her face. The turning and through balls were some of the best I’ve seen from her. The next challenge is t push herself higher up the pitch when playing as a defensive midfielder and keep the ball higher up the pitch. Boss job Abi.
Ella – that’s Ella (not Ellie, sorry Ella) as with Abi has been challenged to keep the ball and run with it, again she went about this really, really, well today, trying her hardest to pushing through the defence and then trying to win it back and have another go if she lost it, when playing as a front player. She wasn’t scared to take the opponents on, and shifted the ball sweetly between both feet to get round the player. As with Abi, a real look of determination on her face at times. Great confidence shown today Ella, lovely work.
So the girls came up against a good team today, despite them having limited players. A couple of really quick wingers who made the difference and a big keeper as well. We can’t forget to chase the attacking player down girls, even if we can’t get a foot in for the tackle, just being in their space can be enough to put them off and panic into taking an early shot. Hope you’ve all thawed out now .