Maidenhead Girls U16’s Dev v West Herts Girls U16’s
A HEARTBREAKING last-minute goal deprived Maidenhead of what would have been a hard-fought, battling draw
By Jim Taylor
A HEARTBREAKING last-minute goal deprived Maidenhead of what would have been a hard-fought, battling draw.
The fact that West Herts’ winner came from a wicked deflection off the arm of one of our defenders and slowly dropped over the goal-line, only made the defeat harder to swallow.
With fifteen minutes to go we were actually leading 2-0. Both goals scored by Jenna, whose goal-poaching ability beautifully finished off some fine counter-attacking moves.
The first came in the fifth minute and started with a lovely run by Evie B down the right flank and her cross was neatly converted at the near-post.
The second, three minutes into the second half again came down the right. Amy released Thea whose strong run and cross-shot was finished by Jenna, this time at the far post.
Jenna & Amy combined well to lead the front-line when they got the ball and both Evie B and Thea gave support when they could. But it is fair to say most of the action took place down the other end.
Keira in goal was busy throughout and made many a good block and was forced into lots of kicking clearances.
In front of her, Caitlin had a good game in defence while Elinor, Amber & Emma all did their best at various times to repel wave after wave of attacks.
In midfield, Annabel was my player of the match with a determined, dogged, defensive display and some fantastic tackling and intelligent distribution…all at a time when the handle of her stick was coming apart.
Alongside her, Nuala and Stella also put in good shifts in midfield, but - with the penalty corner count well into double figures for West Herts – you knew they had to score sometime.
It finally came with a strong run through the middle and a good shot Keira couldn’t stop. Their equaliser came two minutes later – from a slightly softer effort – and you feared our defensive dam was about to burst.
Instead, the girls dug in well and the final 10 minutes were even with both teams going for a winner until the final, fateful deflection.
There were many positives for our girls all over the pitch, everyone gave their all, and we came within seconds of holding on for the draw.
But, sadly, this was the third game in a row the Dev Squad have squandered leads late in the game and have only one draw to show from our opening four fixtures.
On Sunday, our defence sat too deep and, as the game went on, this invited the visitors to launch more and more attacks which, in turn, resulted in too many penalty corners as we couldn’t clear the D.
There was some heroic defending with Stella - in particular - bravely throwing herself into the line of fire. But, in the end, West Herts made their greater pace and mobility in attack count.
The Dev Squad have one more game before Christmas to get that elusive first win, at home to Ashford on 9 December.