Girls sign off for the season with another thriller
By Ed Slade
It is the final game of the season – home to Chorleywood. We came close to turning them over at their ground just a couple of weeks ago and both players and fans are up for it ! Basking in the glorious sunshine the Harvesters ground looks stunning in preparation for hosting Finals day tomorrow. That’s the main course but how about this for an appetizer...
The main talking point before kick of is the home manager’s audacious decision not to name a single sub. It is the last game of the season and the instructions to the 9 are clearly to leave everything on the pitch !
Kick of is delayed by a few minutes as the goal line gets a fresh lick of paint and the ref gets us underway at 10:04. The ever present Gwen is in goal and in front of her are Mabel, Izzy and Alecia. Daisy and Jess are out wide with Sai, Florence and Charlotte bombing through the middle.
It is a slow start for Harvesters who like to get a feel for the opposition before getting into their stride. Chorelywood have a couple of shots but Gwen has them covered all day long. It is from an immense goal kick that Harvesters open the scoring. Charlotte latches onto the ball as it drops just over the half way line still with plenty to do but she brushes of the defenders and thumps the ball into the bottom left corner.
The restart sees Harvesters enjoying a spell of dominant possession with Florence in particular not in the mood to come off second best in any challenge.
10:14 and we concede a free kick just outside our own area. It is incredibly harsh and a quick thinking Chorleywood take it quickly while Gwen is still organising her wall. Goal, 1-1 and the home fans are more than a little upset with proceedings.
Harvesters don’t let their heads drop through and shortly after the restart Florence controls a through ball on her chest and turns and runs at the defence who back off and allow her to get the shot in. But it is well saved by the keeper.
10-20 Water break to counteract the heat wave.
A couple of minutes later we are playing again and Jess has a shot on target saved before a great surging run from Daisy brings out the best save yet from the Chorleywood keeper.
The ref blows for half time and 1-1 seems about right. Fresh water refills are rushed on for the home side who are feeling the effects of their efforts in the searing heat.
The match gets underway again at 10:43 and Chorleywood have started with some gusto and there is an almighty scramble in the Harvesters box as we clear of the line once, twice and then a third time before Gwen finally smothers the ball and the fans can breathe again.
10:49 and the ref blows for another free kick on the edge of our box. Both sets of fans are baffled as there was no obvious infringement visible from the stands. This seems to have unsettled Harvesters who are unsure what has been given and why and they cannot get themselves organised. Chorleywood take full advantage of this and with a move straight off the training ground they drag the ball back to their star striker who blasts it into the top left corner. 1-2.
It is all Chorleywood now and Harvesters are penned in their own half but defending resolutely. Eventually though Chorleywood do break through again taking advantage of a lucky deflection which falls perfectly for their forward who runs onto the loose ball and makes it 1-3.
Time for another much needed water break and for Harvesters to regroup. The break has revitalised the home side and at 11:01 Sai surges through the middle and forces the ball home 2-3 !
Rumours quickly spread around the ground that the Harvesters fans will perform some kind of ceremonial dance if they pull off a comeback from here. We are not entirely sure if this is actually an incentive or not...
The next 10 minutes are all action with chances at both ends before Chorelywood score another cracker to lead 2-4 with 5 minutes left to play. Desperate to get something from the game it is all Harvesters now and with the clock winding down Jess chases what looks like a lost ball wide and almost on the bye line before glancing up and lifting a looping ball long and high over the keeper and into the net. She just stands there looking cool while the stands erupt. It reminds this writer of Le Tissier in his hey day. 3-4 !!!
Sadly we are beaten by the final whistle and we finish the season having played some fantasy football but ultimately paying the price for not scoring enough goals. If we can just add that killer instinct around the box we would surely be a match for anyone in this league. Time for a well earned break (apart from those off to represent their countries in Russia) and then we can go through it all again next season. Can’t wait !