A frustrating game for the Ladies 1s who faced Bedford; hot on the heels of a great result for us last week against Welwyn, and in the knowledge that we had shared the points with them last season, so it was likely to be an evenly-matched game.
Bedford started with 10 players, and we capitalised on this by playing 98% of the first half in their half of the pitch. With Meg slotting into Ann’s position at the back, both she and Emma saw virtually nothing of the ball in the first half. There was some fantastic play by everyone else, with both midfield and forwards working effectively together; from the sidelines it must have looked as though the team had been playing together for years. Maria, suffering with a horrible cold, still managed to provide an effective pivot in the centre, with the best play coming when the ball was put through to Helen on the right and up to Mel on the wing. Everyone worked really hard, with Pip, Rosie and Sarah linking well together, and Bedford struggling to get the ball out of their 25, with a very effective press and Abi putting lots of pressure on the Bedford RB and coming out on top. However, with a plethora of chances and shots on goal, we were unable to convert any of our chances, so we went into half-time at 0-0 and with Bedford up to full strength.
The half time team talk highlighted the risk of us becoming complacent and the risk of Bedford getting a breakaway goal; a premonition which came to pass as they converted an early chance in the second half from open play. Some poor marking and lack of focus and we were on the back foot. Spurred on to address the deficit, we secured a short corner through great play from Mel; she received the ball from a switch at the top of the D, passed the ball across to Sarah who found Faye who converted it: taking us to 1-1. Still rattled by the score line not reflecting the passage of play, we again lost our focus and allowed Bedford to take the lead again - this time though a shot from the top of the D which found the RH corner of the goal, with Vicky unsighted - note to self: don’t get in Vicky’s way - she gets stroppy ;-)
For the rest of the second half we created some good chances - lots of movement up the left with Faye, Steph and Abi all tenacious in their tackling and creating opportunities, but as a team we failed to make the most of the space on the right, with both Helen and Mel under-utilised. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we didn’t manage to pull the score back, so the game finished 2-1.
Lots of positives to take away from the game - we definitely had some great passing play (particularly in the first half) and looked really threatening when we moved the ball round quickly. Player of the match votes were split between Rosie (great skills and creating lots of chances), Maria (great positioning despite suffering with a cold) and Mel - but with Mel getting the most votes for creating lots of chances and for continually tackling back and not giving up.
Dummy of the game went to Faye, for being stupid enough to take the ball off Emma - a risky decision given she could have been flattened! The other dummy of the game has been replaced by a ‘stroppy knickers’ award - and this one was hotly contested this week - but went to Abi who had to sub herself at one stage to calm her frustration (note to team - this option isn’t open to Vicky, so we all need to try hard next week not to give her cause to be stroppy!).
Onwards and upwards next week!