Maidenhead U14 girls Dev v Oxford Dev
Rain rain go away!!
Home Counties Girls U14’s Development League A
Maidenhead 0 Oxford 3
Sunday 5 March 2017
By Jim Taylor
If we had started the game the way we finished, it might have been a different story. We doubled our determination and effort in the last 20 minutes and our attacking play deserved a consolation goal at the very least.
In that final period, we not only improved our tactical nous, upped our passing skills and created chances in the visitor’s D, but also were much more secure in defence.
On the back on a 9-0 thumping of neighbours Slough, the girls should have been full of confidence with goalie-turned-hotshot Alexis leading the line and looking to add to her seven goals last week.
But, sadly, a hailstorm shortly before push-back seemed to do more than just dampen our enthusiasm and in the opening exchanges we were Wet Wet Wet all over the pitch.
We struggled to get the ball out of our half, with our defenders sitting way too deep, midfield not making – let alone winning – tackles, and the forwards starved of service.
Oxford, on the other hand, made the most of their easy possession and constantly attacked. Several shots went wide or were blocked by Elinor, a short corner was hustled away but inevitably the goal came on 12 minutes.
As the game progressed - despite still being under pressure - rays of sunlight started to appear in our team. Holding midfielder Caroline improved her positional play, won some tackles and hit some good passes while Elisa, wide on the right, made positive runs showing her stick skills.
But, Oxford were still in the ascendency and it was no surprise when they scored their second, this time from a hard-hit short corner that charging defender Katie almost stopped.
Soon after Katie was in action again winning a good one-on-one with an Oxford striker and with Lauren in the heart of the defence you felt the tide was starting to turn.
In attack, we were also making more headway. Yasmin and Eva were more effective up-front as we started putting pressure on the Oxford goal and won a couple of short corners.
But, disaster struck as they broke from our set piece, waltzed through some flimsy tackles, and beat Elinor at close range at the second attempt after she could only half-kick clear the first effort.
At three-nil down, going into the final 20 minutes, heads could have dropped. But, instead, the girls rose to the challenge. Sadie timed a good attacking run from a through ball from Elisa; Lauren made some good stops in defence and Simran put some power into her hits.
The best moves nearly always involved Caroline and Elisa, but even their hard work could not make up for the team’s soggy start.
After a good season this was a below-par performance and there should be plenty to work on at Development Squad training at Braywick next Sunday (March 12) from 12noon – 1.30pm, before our next home game versus high-flying Surbiton the following week (March 19).