A Game of 8 Halves !
By Ed Slade
Game of 8 halves
Another double header, this time away at Chorleywood.
The sun is shining and we have a full squad present and correct. The weather has also helped draw a record crowd (if you include the dogs).
The first match kicks off promptly at 10:30. Mabel, Izzy and Daisy are in front of Gwen, Maisie and Charlotte are in the middle of the park with Sophie, Millie and Meeka up front. Harvesters are playing uphill and totally control the opening 10 minutes before one moment of complacency allows Chorleywood to open the scoring despite Gwen getting some valiant fingertips to the fizzing shot.
Just 3 minutes later and Chorelywood repeat the process as Harvesters’ defence seem to switch off for just a moment.
The ref blows for half time but we have only been playing for about 15 minutes. There is confusion in the stands before word filters down that the teams have agreed to take drink breaks to counteract the effects of playing a double header in the unseasonal heat.
After a short interval we restart with Sai on for Sophie and Alecia on for Mabel. This half/quarter is fairly even but just before the real half time whistle Chorelywood score a fabulous third.
The second half starts with Jessie and Florence on for Izzy and Maisie and Gwen now wearing Florence’s cap to help shield her eyes from the blazing sun.
Playing downhill, Harvesters are enjoying possession and pushing forward at every opportunity. The pressure pays off and Charlotte scores a wonder goal. A volley on the half turn, like a young Bergkamp !
3-1 and just enough time to save this match. Izzy and Daisy come on for Alecia and Mabel and after another short break Meeka and Maisie come on for Charlotte and Millie.
A huge penalty shout for Harvesters as it take 3 Chorleywood players to bring Florence down in the box ! The ref, however, is having none of it and waves play on. Harvesters don’t let this disrupt their flow though and Sai breaks through and buries the ball in the back of the net.
3-2 sets the game up for a frantic final 5 minutes but despite Florence testing the keeper, Chorleywood see it out for a narrow victory.
Match 2 kicks off with a Harvesters starting line up of Gwen, Mabel, Sophie, Alecia, Meeka, Florence, Charlotte, Sai and Millie.
Chorleywood are pressing hard but Gwen produces a string of fine saves to keep the tie level. Chorleywood whip in a corner and the ball flies into the back of the Harvesters’ net off the shoulder of an unsuspecting Florence. Emboldened by the breakthrough it is now all Chorleywood and a viscous strike crashes down off the underside of the crossbar. Did the ball cross the line ? With no VAR available at Chorleywood we will never know for sure but the ref’s word is final and he says play on !
After another drinks break Harvesters begin to make inroads and Charlotte scores another wonder goal to bring the score level. 1-1.
Florence unluckily catches a ball full in the face forcing a brief stoppage and an enforced substitution bringing Maisie on for the recovering Florence.
Izzy, Daisy and Jessie come on for Sophie, Charlotte and Millie but on the stroke of halftime Chorleywood nick one to lead 2-1.
The second half gets underway and Harvesters are playing some beautiful one touch football. Florence to Charlotte to Millie – just wide ! Then Charlotte takes a corner which Meeke meets with a half volley beyond the diving keeper. This is the first goal this season that Harvesters have scored from a corner. 2-2.
Chorleywood take the lead again just before the drinks break and with the score 3-2 the last 10 minutes are likely to be tense. And indeed they are ! Then with time running out Sophie finds Meeka who calmly slots the ball home.
FT 3-3 an honourable draw.