With the continued rain onslaught the game was moved to ALC and we had to endure a further quick downpour prior to kick off.
In the first quarter Bognor were encamped around the Oakwood penalty area, but with Oakwood defending bravely in numbers Bognor were unable to find the final pass to unlock the door. We were allowing them to condense the play and didn't make use of the spaces with either movement or passing. Maria hit the outside of the post and Grace had a couple of longer range efforts, one of which winded the goalkeeper. There followed a deliberate handball outside the box but the Oakwood skipper cleverly argued the health and safety line to convince the ref to rescind the decision. We dominated without creating a clear cut chance and both their goalkeepers looked solid.
In the second quarter Oakwood began to look more dangerous on the break. Hattie had to work hard and Hollie came out well to the edge of her box on a couple of occasions to clear danger. When we did shoot it seemed to be straight at the keeper target than low in the corners. With Bognor still pressing forward but unable to score, Katie got drawn towards the play and when the move broke down Oakwood hit a long ball leaving us exposed 2v1 at the back. Hollie came out and saved the first shot but the rebound fell at the other attacker who hit an excellent volley into the roof of the net and out of nowhere we were 0-1 down at half time.
In the third quarter we seemed to lose our way, perhaps shocked and unused to losing. The players were looking tired after the indoor exploits from the day before and passes were either under or over hit or played behind rather than in front of players running on. Nothing seemed to be going right and fear and frustration were creeping in
Before the final quarter the managers could see the trophy slipping out of our hands and so got out both the hair dryer and the curling tongs to give the players a roasting. There was also a tactical switch to plan C - Hollie went back into goal with Maria dropping back to mark Leah and Wizzy sweeping up in front in defensive midfield, in order to give us more discipline to deal with the counter attack and let the forwards press higher up the pitch, with Issy and Katie switched into attacking roles. This and the thought of silverware seemed to spur the players on. Immediately from the kick off there was an inter change between Grace and Roxy and Issy was left clear in front of goal and she made no mistake to level the scores. This lifted Bognors spirits and had an equal and opposite reaction on Oakwood who had worked so hard to that point to protect their goal. Spaces began to open up as Oakwood tired and Roxy cleverly began to exploit this by taking up good positions and threading neat passes through and she quickly added a second to put us in the lead. Katie and Natalia were now stronger in the challenge, winning the ball and making driving forward runs. The ref gave a free kick outside the Oakwood box for a clear hand ball and their best player charged at him full pelt, seemingly as aghast at the decision as some of the parents, and the ref had to use all his years of experience to take the onrushing danger girl out with a neatly timed elbow. Grace struck the free kick toward the top corner and the keeper made an excellent one handed save. Grace continued to tirelessly chase the defenders down and pin Oakwood back and was rewarded when one of her weaker shots went straight through the keeper for 3-1. By now Bognor were rampant with Roxy, Issy, Grace, Natalia and Katie combining well up front and Hattie, Wizzy and Maria sniffing out any danger. Katie then burst through and the keeper was too busy trying to push Issy out of the way to stop her shot and the game ended 4-1.
With the Crawley v Rustington game called off, we are left six points clear, with our games the only ones played so far in the group. Rustington at home next week with a trip to unknown Ashington the week after. Two down two to go ??????