Week 14: L2s continue to dominate; M1s return to winning ways
WH&E L2 4 : 1 Eastcote L5
Another freezing cold match for the ladies 2s, with a mid- afternoon push back. Despite our continuous efforts we were still not warm by the end of the game.
The first half was fast and we maintained this pace throughout. The first goal of the game was scored by Eastcote but we didn’t let this get us down. Abbi scored our equaliser mid-way through the first half with one of the many brilliant set ups from our midfielders and forwards.
In the second half, we got more pace and confidence, and managed to put more of our shots in the goal, with Abbi scoring two more goals and Gem scoring with a clean strike from a short corner. Although we lost our positions towards the end, we communicated and worked well as a team, encouraging each other and helping each other to channel the balls up the wings – brilliant efforts from Caitlin, Sonya, and Abbi but a game well played by everyone.
WH&E M1 3 : 0 Southgate Adelaide M1
Bright, winter sun greeted what was the first full home game of 2020 for most of the assembled band of WH&E M1s; and all eyed a win. With a strong squad of 15 players, the desire for a first victory of the year certainly seemed possible and in so doing condemn old rivals Southgate Adelaide to their continued rather bleak season – not winning a game.
For the team talk, we didn’t understandably want to dwell on that stat and the team was exhorted to focus on their game. The whistle blew, but as WH&E lined up 15 players were more like 12 to 13 as Jim Gatting remained injured and sadly couldn’t take part and there were niggles, strains and ailments affecting a few others. No matter. The team had a steel and sought to begin with vigour.
WH&E did indeed start strongly, delivering considerable pressure and a sequence of shots albeit no clear chances but plenty of opportunities including an inviting ball flashed right across the ‘D’. While there was danger in the ‘D’ another revealed itself with a corner of the pitch still icy and players losing their footing. Perhaps Adam Machray thought he could blame it on the pitch as his tackle soon after led an Adelaide player to taste the Astro (and Adam dodged a card).
WH&E also escaped a scare. A rare break by Adelaide up the left saw the ball taken along the line and into the ‘D’, but excellent positioning and deft work by keeper Balazs Endrodi literally saved the day.
More WH&E pressure then took shape with Stuart Carrick, Rafi Zeff and Matt Dray bringing the ball out and having plenty of space. Asher Cohen and Stan Knight found some good positions too as did Sam Turmaine on his outing for the 1s. Jake Sumner then won a short corner as an Adelaide player stepped on the ball. `The whistle blew for half-time and ten WH&E players circled round the ’D’. Adam Machray played a good ball out, it was stopped cleanly and the most miraculous shot curled into the backboard. Or at least that was the plan but in fact Colin Foad delivered a perfectly executed air shot (it looked good Colin!). So, WH&E went into half time all square but knowing by far the stronger play was by the men in white and purple. (At this point in the report we want to say thanks to Sam Deane and Chris Moran for umpiring – as always we are grateful as we wouldn’t be able to play otherwise).
The second half duly began, and WH&E came out strongly. Adelaide must have been thinking it was not to be their day again, whereas the team in white sensed it might be theirs. That said, in his own words, Harry Stone did not have much sense in how his deflection found its way into the goal but it did. 1-0 and well done Mr Stone.
Shortly after, a number of short corners were won and one of them saw an Adelaide player hit the ball with his foot which bounced to Dom Smith. Rolling back the years and showing all the skills acquired, he majestically lifted the ball from the edge of the ‘D’ into the top corner. 2-0 and well done Mr Smith.
By now, WH&E were a dominant force. Mike Dutnall was playing so far up the pitch he could have arguably been thought of as a winger, especially as he played plenty of crosses from the right side of the pitch and even the odd shot.
Adam Machray fearing not enough people had seen his previous handiwork, proceeded to sprint across the pitch and slid into the player taking both him and opposition member into the onlookers of the game. (A card escaped again).
Then it was onto another bout of WH&E pressure and a penalty flick. Colin Foad stepped up, but the keeper saved. Could WH&E get a third and put the game out of reach? Oh yes.
But, it was an unlikely source. With another sequence of pressure who was in the ‘D’, none other than the left back Paul Taylor who slotted cleanly home. Well done Mr Taylor.
It was a well-deserved victory and three points on the board. More points should clearly be in sight ahead.
WH&E L1 0 : 1 Staines L1
On Saturday the Ladies 1s played Staines at home and Helen Fenning joined us for her first match back since having her baby daughter!
It was a very defensive heavy match as although we had a few offensive opportunities, they seemed few and far between. Team defence did an excellent job of keeping the opposition out of the net with many great saves from Chris Putt and lots of hard work from the 4 defenders who kept working until the last minute.
The only goal of the match was just into the 2nd half when we were unable to keep them at bay.
Player of the match goes to Sam Deane for unreal levels of energy and the ability to not stop fighting. Absolutely integral to the strength in the defence as well as the chances we did create up front. Well done Sam ?
Honourable mention to Helen for great running after her time off!
WH&E M2 0 : 7 Potters Bar M4
After an awful performance last week, despite a win, we wanted to put it right and play formidably in the game against Potters Bar, which we knew was going to be tough. We didn’t have a full-strength squad which made our formation a bit odd, with Guy holding a 5th different position this season.
Will keep this short and sweet. Bar goal. Bar goal. SAVE off the line, with Luke’s foot. Penalty flick – bar goal. Bar goal. Potters Bar 4-0 HT. They were a well set up team and pressed us really well. We struggled at times to get the ball up the pitch but the young legs of Jamie, Theo, Tom & Thomas showed some positive play linking up with Leo up top.
Second half was pretty similar, but we did get into our stride a bit more. Luke, Jason, Leo & John linking up in the middle and once we got a bit of pass-and-go on, we did manage to get it up the field. Bar goal. Two great picks off the line from a short by Guy, however he passed it back to them, so they ended up scoring anyway – great effort though.
At one point, Jamie found himself entering the D with the ball and was unlucky to not find Tom at the far post for a goal. A bit later Tom had another opportunity shooting from an impossible angle which was saved, Luke followed up putting it back post, but it was just a bit too overhit for Jamie to put it away – another decent chance. Finally, another Bar goal.
Then the best move of the match came from John whacking the ball up to Luke, who cut into the right-hand side and was fouled. Leo passed the ball for a quick one-two before imitating an Argentinian Leo and dribbling past multiple players in the Bar box before striking the ball with accuracy and power. Unfortunately, he thought the goal was in front of him so ended up not scoring, but what a goal it could have been.
Potters Bar 7-0 winners. However, the score line flattered them a bit.
Man of the Match: Guy. What a performance from left back! Controlled his part of the field well.
We go against bottom of the table next week (yes, we’re not bottom!) so that should be seen as a win-at-all-costs game as only 1 point separates us. Please come down and support!