Reading 0 - Maidenhead 5
Classy and Composed with some clinical strikes!
An excellent end to the 2016 fixture list as the U16 dev side played at Reading and returned a 5-0 victory. Before the game we talked about shape and our attitude remaining switched on, something we did not do quite so well against Ealing the week before, and thankfully we started the first half switched on and the results were soon evident. Emily B and Jemma L combined time and time again on the right, both having strong drives into the D, and eventually the cross D-balls caused enough mayhem for the ball to break to Emily who slotted it on the reverse stick , which was brilliant for her, as we have been working on that. We continued to work the right hand side through Jemma and Emily and that pressure then built up into more mayhem in the opposition D, which led to Ella D slotting home a nice finish to put us 2-0.
Last week we took our foot off the gas at this point, much to the coaches dismay! However this time I was not umpiring and was able to shout more Thankfully it was not needed as the girls kept their own focus and the left side of the team namely Deia A and Ella D decided they did not to want to miss out and started to link up with Tara and Lauren in the midfield area, and Deia slipped balls through the eye of a needle to set up Ella who drove into the D to set up a short corner. At the short corner we had asked Sophie B to have a strike, and despite her hesitation in accepting the challenge, she stepped up to the plate. Admittedly it took a couple of short corners to find her range, but with Emily, Ella, Jemma, Deia and Tara applying pressure we were given plenty of short corner opportunities, and on her third attempt the penny dropped and she hit a strike to the backboard to put us 3-0. With her tail up Sophie B then struck another short corner , cleaner than the first, to put us 4-0 up at half time.
The defensive team of Divya, Jess, Lydia and Phoebe did not have too much to do, but did all that was asked of them.
In the second half, we rang a few more changes which disrupted our flow a little, but not our tenacity. Hannah S and Macie P got struck into their task in midfield and up front respectively, with Hannah doing some good work to release Jemma ( who they were now man marking with their best player, a tribute to the threat she had caused in the 1st half) and Macie getting into some good positions in the D where she was unlucky not to get her shots away. At the back Tash did not have too much to do, but made two crucial, strong clean tackles to break up potential attacks , Divya made some great tackles and showed some deft skills and calm to clear the ball and Amy slotted into centre back, working back to track potential breaks very well.
In midfield though the work rate was maintained, Lauren did her defensive midfield job excellently ( I would call it a classy performance today, calm and deadly..!) , alongside Tara ,Jemma and Deia the four of them added an element of composure and were happy to take ownership of situations when needed, all of them were contenders for player of the match. However this week that honour went to Sophie Boycott who in the second half struck her hat -trick short corner, which was the best of the lot. Not only that though, what impressed me most was her attitude to going and winning the ball, she was like a hockey wrecking ball in the midfield which gave us the dominance and go forward ball we needed. Her smile from scoring the hat-trick was a lovely early Xmas present for her.
So well done girls, this was no push over Reading side, they had some really handy and strong players.
Please enjoy Xmas, and be ready for our next game in January, where we continue the mission to not switch off for a full 70 minutes :)