This Sunday we were on the road after a week off following our win in the cup against St Aldhelms. We had an early start against Clevedon, who are one of the stronger teams in our league this season. And even though most of the girls looked like they have just woke up and some looked like they were out on the town all night, they were raring to go. We had some players out including Evie, who was at a climbing competition on Saturday (We all wish you luck Evie & please don’t get injured) and we had Sophie and Grace out due to illness unfortunately, but hopefully will be back for our next league game!
We lined up with Abbie in goal of course, with 3 clean sheets in all competitive games so far! Then we had Anna in her centre-back role, with Lois and Immy on either side. Rolls-Royce defenders that’s the only thing I can say to describe those 3! Then we saw Eleanor and Poppy in central midfield with Bonnie on the left and Tianna on the right. Leading the line today we had Zoe, always energetic and making constant runs which even makes me tired just watching! Finally, we had Rosie starting as our impact player and ready to come on and help the team and play wherever she is needed!
I think everyone knew it would be a tough game, and unfortunately we did maybe make it harder for ourselves (I will blame it on the early 10am KO). After the first 10 minutes we got into the groove and were dominating possession. Clevedon had a couple shots against Abbie but nothing to worry about, like a looping ball which Abbie plucked out of the sky. Couple chances but the ball just stuck to her hands as always (somebody needs to check those gloves). Commanding her box, we saw some rush goalkeeping with Abbie coming out and clearing the ball and some great pin point passing out. Another clean sheet, hopefully many more! The defence the whole game, Immy, Anna, Lois and Eleanor, when she moved there in the second half, were absolutely rock solid. They didn’t let Clevedon have any clear cut chances at all. The determination to get up the pitch and hold a high line, as well as strong clearances and helping with the attack. We couldn’t ask more of them. We saw Poppy run the game from the heart of midfield and won us a free kick in a dangerous area, and every time she got the ball she was being swamped by Clevedon players. But she could always find that pass between the lines and had the determination to not lose the ball, even when being sandwiched by red shirts. We tried our signature set-piece, which sees Immy receiving the ball from a short corner, but unfortunately narrowly missed on this occasion. 20 minutes into the half Tianna received the ball on the right hand side, running past multiple red shirts and firing it straight into the goal with the Clevedon keeper being rooted to the spot. What a goal, 1-0 BLUs!!! We saw Bonnie make some amazing runs as usually down the left hand size, always running her socks off and getting involved. It was time for Rosie to make an impact, helping Zoe upfront to work the Clevedon defence and straight away she had a chance in the box where she turned and had a shot but it went just over the bar! Would have been an amazing goal but it will come Rosie, I know for a fact. The half-time whistle blew and we were 1-0 up and the 3 points were looking likely! But the girls were disappointed we didn’t come into half time with more goals.
Second half we came out with a plan to keep the clean sheet and hopefully score a couple more goals. We set up with Lois in midfield and Eleanor moving to defence and Rosie on the left hand side and Poppy and Zoe upfront. The second half was similar to the first. It felt like we had more of the possession and Clevedon had a couple of chances but again no clear cut chances because of Anna, Immy and Eleanor being solid and winning all defensive duels and again Abbie catching anything coming near goal effortlessly. Towards the end we had a few chances with Bonnie running down the line and putting a couple of crosses in, as well as a few shots which the Clevedon keeper gathered and a few through balls that went straight to the Clevedon keeper. We saw Bonnie play striker for the last 15 minutes, she had a couple of chances on goal, as well as creating a chance for Lois who was playing on the left wing towards the end of the game, where we saw Lois in the box unmarked, a cross came from Bonnie on the right hand side but unfortunately Lois did not get enough contact on the ball as she would like. But on any other day that’s going into the back of the net. The final whistle was blown and 2 games into the league we are unbeaten, with 2 clean sheets and putting pressure on the team at the top!
Star player went to Immy for her determination to get forward and back, making clearances after clearances, looking for the pass and most importantly a calming performance in defence as usual. As me and Tom say every week, we could have given it to everybody but the team are playing for each other and it is evident on the pitch. There is a togetherness, a winning mentality and most importantly having fun! Hope everybody enjoyed that game and next Sunday we are on the road again to play against Shine!
Written by Jamil Khan (U12s Coach).