After two difficult matches to start the season, the ladies of APWFC strode into Regent’s Park full of piss and vinegar, ready to get their winning ways jumpstarted against the Camden Town Ladies. With Sunday morning yielding perfect match weather of clear blue skies, sun, and a cool 66°F (°C = (°F – 32) x 5/9), confidence was high and opportunity seemed ripe for the picking. Armed with a whopping 4 subs this week, APWFC was ready to go the distance.
As the game kicked off, both teams came out of the gate trading tit for tat, but evenly matched with neither gaining the upper hand. Nicky and Annika made strong runs along the wings and harassed their players with continued pressure through the midfield, while Zoe, Harry, Lisa, and Emily kept the defence on tight lockdown. With Kelly out of town, Lale gamely stepped up to that most coveted of positions which volunteers crawl over themselves to play: goalkeeper. She deftly caught, parried, and batted away the occasional shot that the other team managed to sneak around the Iron Wall before one finally manage to slip through and into the goal (reason to suspect that the other team found a way to grease up the ball with baby oil so that even the most sticky of goalie gloves wouldn’t have been able to hold on).
Undeterred, APWFC continued to press and create their own chances, but were unable to get any into the back of the net. Before the end of the 1st half, Camden Town again found the back of the net off a corner kick, but it was called back due to the ball allegedly going out of bounds before curling back on and into the net. While no one on APWFC was about to question that, the first real glimpse of attitude from the other team reared its head as the ref was questioned on his license level and beginner status. If anything, it provided an excellent running joke for the remainder of the game.
The 2nd half began much as the first, but then APWFC struck. Annika challenged for a ball crossed into the box and the artist formerly known as Eline (hereinafter “E”) coolly finished it. But, wait. The beginner ref with a questionable license level called it back due to a foul called on Annika after she beat the goalie to the ball and said goalie bounced off her like a rubber duck before splaying onto the ground in dramatic fashion. Well…crap. Back to the drawing board. Feeling slightly deflated after that, APWFC rallied to try and put another one away. Then it was discovered that what is considered perfect soccer weather in the US is apparently a few degrees warmer than what’s preferred in Europe. The combination of heat and early season match fitness was starting to catch up with the APWFC midfield, but they continued to fight. Then a Camden Town player made a break down the line and just when it seemed she was going to run right over the end line, she ripped off a shot from an impossible angle for a goal. Nothing to be done about that, so APWFC shook it off and kept working and playing hard. As the game clock was winding down, an final shot managed to slip just under Lale’s outreached fingers to give Camden Town their 3rd and final goal. For such an evenly matched game, it was unfortunate that the final scoreline didn’t reflect that, but APWFC continued to make great strides as they continued to knock off the rust and meld together as a team unit. Next time, Camden Town, next time.