It was a sunny afternoon in North London for the Women’s Team first game of the 2014-15 season against Old Actonians.
The first obstacle to overcome was trying to find our home pitch, which was at The Crouch End Vamps ground. Despite some delays in arrival we had a full team plus 1 sub at kick off.
Having been unsuccessful in arranging any preseason friendlies and fronting a line up with a number of our exciting new signings we started the game with a large dose of excitement, nerves and anticipation. We started the first half well, with Beth and Athena linking up well in midfield and getting the ball out to Lale and Jannie upfront. Unfortunately, however, we struggled to find the final ball in to test the keeper. Our biggest opportunity of the first half came when the keeper came out to claim a ball, missed it and the ball rolled tantalisingly along the goal line, with our attack sprinting towards the ball to knock it in. Sadly Old Actonians’ defence got there first! Old Actonians pushed back strongly, threatening us on the break and with a couple of well taken corners. However, some fantastic clearances from Harry and Tash at centre back and a couple of cat-like dives from Kelly, in goal, kept the score at 0-0.
We made a strong start to the second half putting pressure on the opposition’s defence, chasing down balls in their half and limiting their attacks. At one point, Jannie (now on the right wing) chased down one of the Old Actonian
midfielders, intercepting her pass. Jannie kept the ball and passed it off to Chelsea, who danced her way through the
defence beautifully and managed to place the ball perfectly out of reach of the keeper in the bottom right hand corner. WE WERE 1-0 UP!!
Old Actonians responded to going behind by increasing the number of players they had in attack (or at least that’s what it felt like!) and pressure on the defence started to build. In the, what now felt like, scorching heat Sarah, at left back, did well forcing play out onto the left wing and preventing dangerous crosses coming in, whilst Zoe and Harry made some heroic sprints back towards our own goal to intercept well-timed through balls. Once again Kelly’s confidence in goal kept us from conceding the few shots that did get through on target and it was an immense team effort in the final few minutes when we conceded a couple of corners and a free kick just outside the area. Our midfielders Lale, Emily, Chelsea, Jannie, Athena and Paula did a fantastic job in tracking back and supporting the defence at these times.
Finally, after what felt like a very long last 5 minutes the final whistle went and we were able to celebrate a well fought win! It was a strong team performance and it was fantasic to see old team members combining so well with our new players. A great goal by Chelsea made her a close runner up for player of the match, but she was pipped to the post by one of our youngest newbies- Athena. Well done on an outstanding first game, Athena, you were absolutely everywhere you needed to be on the pitch, defending, attacking and creating chances for us!