Harsh Lessons at The Academy
By jamie nelson
by David Nightingale
Vs Pro Direct Academy U13 Girls
The team - Jess in goal making her debut, Mabel, Izzy, Alicia, Daisy, Maisie, Sophie, Meeka, Charlotte. No subs.
Jess had a quick pre-match crash course in goalkeeping by stand-in coach John covering for Jamie. And Jess was straight into the action using her feet well to thwart an early attack. Meeka starting brightly and energetic with promising runs down the right flank covering both ends of the pitch
It was evident from the first few touches that the opposition were skilful and organised, they were quick to intercept and score on the right side 1-0
Jess makes a double save and the ball is cleared off the line
Opposition number 10 scores with a powerful shot 2-0
Meeka great run and cross but just couldn't find Charlotte.
Another goal 3-0
Good interplay between Charlotte, Sophie and Maisie unfortunately an offside flag went up
Straight from kick-off opposition score again 4-0 before halftime
Half-time pitch-side assessment by away supporters was that the girls seem low on confidence and mind-set thinking the opposition are better than us from the start perhaps also a hangover from last week's heavy defeat
Referee and players are ready to start the second half but there's a hold up – our linesman is not ready still talking on the opposite touchline about the good old days. Dave scuttles across the pitch into position and we are away….
Jess continues to perform well in goal saving with her knees and then a penalty save on her debut ….a ‘champagne’ moment! A game changer? Well an interesting passage of play then followed. For goal kicks the girls adopted a low-risk strategy with Jess passing the ball to the side of the penalty box to Mabel to pass the ball up the line. The opposition were very quick to close down Mabel but the result was only a throw-in to us or another goal kick. The girls kept doing this which was a clever tactic as the opposition then backed off Mabel who had a bit more time to control and get a good pass down the wing for Meeka flying down the wing to counterattack. This also had a knock on effect of taking the opposition out of their stride and rhythm and generated some momentum to our girls with Alecia pushing forward with the ball, Charlotte was able to get in a good shot which was saved and then a follow up neat pass to Meeka who also had a shot well saved.
At the other end Jess was brave saving at the feet of an attacker who went in a little bit late. Against the run of play the opposition attacked and pulled the ball back to score 5-0. No blame to any of the girls, the opposition attacker was clearly offside but our lino missed it! Shame as it would have been good to have kept a clean sheet for the second half.
Final score was 5-0
• Stand out performance from Jess including a penalty save on debut
• Meeka was fouled a few times by the left back who was struggling to match her pace, she was moved to another position in the second half – a personal victory for Meeka!
• Clever tactics for goal-kicks
It was noted that the opposition had two players with the number 10 jersey – is that allowed under the rules? Rematch? Perhaps the girls need a social get together to try and lift their spirits and regain their confidence after two losses to nil and try to finish the season on a high…..