With a 10am kick off we had to arrive bright and early at Canford for a sunny (but chilly) match against Weston Mendip. Our morning didn’t start off great by us having to set up camp on the opposite end of the pitch compared to usual (I’m not usually superstitious…) but we went about it graciously and got on with our warm up.

Let’s all forget about the first 2 minutes of the match and go from there. We had Poppy (last week’s star player) starting off upfront for us, confidently dribbling the ball through their players and making her way up the pitch. She was backed up by Zoe, Isla and Bonnie in midfield, who worked well together to win back any loose balls and feed them to Poppy. Our starting defenders were Eleanor and Rosie, further backed up by BLU’s very own Ellie Roebuck (aka Abbie) in goal. Abbie was in action a lot in the first half, keeping her on her toes. Starting off her strong performance by showing us a blinder of a save when they were awarded a freekick right on the edge of the box. Not long after, Isla was awarded a corner-like freekick on the edge of their box, but we all know Isla wouldn’t miss an opportunity to try and score a wonder goal. She sent an on target, bend-it-like-Beckham-style freekick at the goal but the goalkeeper just managed to get her hands on it. So close! Susie and Rosie were on their toes in defence, when a quick counter-attack saw a 4v2 on the edge of our box, our defenders quickly stopped them in their tracks and got the ball back in BLU possession before passing it on to our tracking-back midfielders. Our subsititutions were regular and quick to ensure everybody got their well-earned breaks. Sophie had enough energy to power Bristol, and despite being upfront, was putting in a Sam Kerr-like shift by covering the whole pitch and winning the ball back in all areas. A scrappy bit of play in their box saw Poppy, Bonnie and Zoe attacking and nearly hitting the back of the net, but the goalkeeper saved it again. Half-time was almost upon us, Eleanor and Niamh were working well together in defence, covering each other and taking turns to go up the pitch. The whistle was blown.

A quick team talk and encouragment at half-time saw the girls ready for the second half. It didn’t take long for Isla to demonstrate her Lauren Hemp inspired runs, dribbling through the whole of the opposition team and almost bagging her first goal of the game but just sending wide, so close again! A quick switch around saw Rosie come on in midfield and Evie on in defence. Although these were not their usual positions, they settled in well and confidently took on the role. Rosie was backed by Susie in defence, who was tactically supplying her with the ball, Rosie then demonstrated confident and well-composed dribbling, taking it all the way into their box but unfortunately nothing came of the good setup. Evie seemingly turned into Lucy Bronze at right back, performing all of the skills and turns under the sun, deceiving their players and travelling up the pitch, before supplying it to Zoe and Bonnie in midfield. We were soon awarded a throw-in up by their goal. A beautiful long throw by Isla (similar to that of Liverpool’s Megan Campbell) into the box saw it bounce off of multiple people’s heads and end up in the back of the net!! (In all honesty we have absolutely no idea who it came off of last!). The difficult match was slowly coming to an end but there was still enough time left for Abbie to do a wonderful double save. A bottom corner shot saw her dive on the floor, unfortunately the rebound landed directly at their other attacker’s feet, but not to worry, Abbie was straight back on her feet and caught the shot in her safe hands. Niamh was also demonstrating her composure at the back, passing any balls that she won confidently to Evie (her fellow defender) or to Zoe infront of her in midfield. The final whistle was blown.

Well done to everybody in a very tough match, we made sure to fight till the very end. Our Star Player (only one this week) was awarded to Evie for her performance in defence, staying calm on the ball and demonstrating every skill possible to get past their attackers, as well as supporting her fellow defender.

Written by Ellie Haines (U10s coach).