Scorers: Chelsea(2), Jennah
With this cup being open to all teams in the 3rd Division the women’s team turned up feeling that this is a cup we could go a long way in. With a downpour at 11am and youth games in the morning there was a bit of a debacle over which pitch we were playing on at the race course. The slopey pitch had suffered from the early game and the rain and had become a bit of a mud bath in the centre…so we had a last minute switch to the rather flatter, but smaller pitch in front of the club house.
We made a strong start to the game dominating the team from South London, who had only 10 players. Greenhouse were not to be underestimated, however, and despite a significant amount of possession and pressure by our strikers, Tracey and Brelly, our first goal remained elusive. Greenhouse made a few worrying breaks, with the defence struggling to predict the ball on the heavy pitch. However, great communication and covering between defenders Harry, Jean, Lale and Zoe, and the safe hands of Kelly in goal kept the score line at 0-0. In attack Birthday girl Athena created a couple of amazing chances down the right wing, linking up fantastically with Brelly up front. Finally, however, our goal came from Player of the Match, Chelsea, who weaved her way through the midfield and defence to strike a fantastic ball into the back of the net! She made it look absolutely effortless!
We managed to hang on to our 1-0 lead until half time, but knew that in the second half we would have to build on this to ensure that Greenhouse were out of the game.
The second half started in much the same way as the first, and around 10minutes in we won a corner. With most of the team in, or around the box, we were hopeful we would convert. The ball was launched in and there was scramble in the box with a free ball that Jean and the opposition’s goalie went for. Jean won the ball, but didn’t create the momentum to get into the goal. Unfortunately, with the slippy ground Jean had lots of momentum and flew into the goalie who had thrown herself at the ground to get the ball. It did not look good for the goalkeeper, who appeared to be in a lot of pain and so, with the temperature dropping, the game was halted while she received medical attention. This seemed to go on for an inordinately long time and the players were all freezing by the time the game got started again. Regrettably the keeper had to come off the pitch (thankfully, however, it turned out she had only sustained some cuts and bruises from her collision with Jean) and so Greenhouse were now down to 9 players…Some of whom were rather angry now about the situation and felt that we were being overly aggressive. Something our team (and the referee) would contest! I have to say – my memory of the remainder of the game is really poor. I think I was suffering from brain freeze and so I apologise for the sketchy description of the rest of the game. At some point we scored two absolutely amazing goals, another from Chelsea (who I was betting on to get her first hat trick of the season!) and one from Jennah.
As the final 15minutes of the game wore on it was clear that both teams were starting to tire from the emotional match and difficult ground. We still looked like the better team and were creating chance after chance, Nicky and Tracey chasing down every ball. Exhaustion seemed to be taking its toll on our attack and midfield, who had been running relentlessly for 90minutes and our feet no longer seemed to be doing what our brains wanted them to! Despite creating lots of chances we could not get the ball into the net. The opposition, getting tired and frustrated, were starting to take more shots from further out and so Kelly had to remain alert into the final moments of the game. She dealt with all shots amazingly calmly, feeding the balls back out to Paula and Zoe at right and left back. Thankfully, at some point the referee blew for full time and a very muddy, but happy 14 players made their way back into the club house. Bring on the second round!