Sonning Ladies 1's vs Banbury
First league game… Success!
Here it is, the first league game (and lengthy match report) of the season!
Last season, we had an fairly "steady" league run, after staying in 7th place for 5 months… this season we are absolutely determined to finish higher than that, and have a good time doing so!
Our league campaign started with an away fixture at Banbury. An early 8:30am meet time saw a surprisingly chirpy and energetic group of players arrive at the club. After agreeing to go in convoy, we looked up to see the dust left by Annie "Formula 1" Oke as she drove off… convoy over!
After two defeats to Banbury last season, we were pretty determined to secure a victory this time round, and we were pretty psyched for the game. As the game started though, we realised that we were in for a tough game, as Banbury set a very high tempo from the start. We had a few chances during the first half, but unfortunately weren't able to convert. After receiving a short corner, Banbury managed to score their first goal following a rebound and some kerfuffles in the D. 1-0 to Banbury, boo. We continued to absorb pressure from Banbury for the rest of the first half, whilst getting into their D on a few occasions. However, after a break Banbury managed to score a second goal just before the half time whistle, double boo.
The half time break gave us a chance to re-assess our tactics, and we started the second half with a much stronger performance, aiming for that all important 9 second goal. We started to turn the tide against Banbury, creating a lot more chances and applying much more pressure across the pitch. Our effort paid off after about 15 minutes, when Coops chased down the ball on the right side of the D. Coops sent a fantastic pass to Mary in the D, who danced around the Banbury defenders before slotting the ball from her reverse stick, past the keeper and into the goal. Boom! 9 second goal after taking possession of the ball :o)
Completely rejuvenated and energised by our goal, we continued to play at a high tempo. There was some great defensive work and pressure from Robyn, Pikey and Chrissi across the back. Annie & Joy held their positions well to prevent Banbury to attacking directly down the middle. The midfield and attacking line were much more explosive in their attacks, exploiting more gaps being left by Banbury. After another 10 minutes of play, some great work resulted in an upgrade to a short corner. The ball came out, slipped left to Alice who took one quick look before collecting the ball and slotting it past the keeper and defenders into the back of the goal… 2-2 baby!
Banbury started to get more frustrated with decisions, and this began to show in their game. We maintained discipline and pressure across the team, with some real leg work going into both defending and attacking by Katie and Sammy in particular. Banbury weren't without their chances though, and continued to create chances in the D, requiring Anna to pull off some amazing stops in front of goal.
Both teams continued to attack and create chances, looking for that third goal. After absorbing pressure for a while, we made a fantastic break on the left. There was some brilliant teamwork and quick passing before the ball arrived in the D. The ball found its way to Kathryn who was at the top of the D on the right. As defenders ran towards her, Kathryn collected the ball on her stick and launched the ball into the net, as the Banbury defence (and us!) watched it go in.
5 minutes later, the whistle blows… TRIPLE BOOM! We won the game 3-2 after going 2-0 down at half time. This was a truly brilliant result that we deserved after persevering for 70 minutes. 6 players received nominations for player of the match, including myself, Joy, Anna, Kathryn and Chrissy. However, player of the match went to Sammy for her tireless efforts at left midfield, and contributions to our goals.
M*** of the Match had two nominations this week. The first nomination was for me, for a shoddy administration error that resulted in a last minute change in the team. However, the clear and deserved winner was Coops. I shan't say on here why, but next you see Coops, ask her what her preference is :o)
Well done team on winning our first league game. Bring on next week!