Team FAST were put to the test by Footie First and although the team were down by 2 goals they showed some character in pulling 2 goals back to draw the game 2-2.
The team started off slowly which is usually not their style of play but clawed their way back into the game at the very end.
Footie First came prepared with a plan knowing what they were up against and with no bench to rely on, they executed their plan well. They slowed down the game every time they got the opportunity effectively killing off FAST's rhythm and not giving them the chance to dictate the game. With the hot weather conditions evidently not in FAST's favour, the team looked tired and were struggling to string a few passes together. The physical approach from Footie First also made it very difficult for the girls to play against but they weren't willing to give up the fight very easily with Alisha, Nyesha and Yana keeping a check on the opponents forwards. Shivika made some good saves during the game from long rangers and also did well in moving the ball around but her decision making to build up play from the back could have been a bit quicker knowing the player advantage they had.
Although Alisha and Nyesha were making good runs off the ball and with Harshini and Anuja dropping in deep to receive the ball they seemed to be running into traffic every time or were denied by the opponents keeper in almost every 1v1 situation. The first half ended with no goals scored by either team.
A stern pep talk from the coaches and FAST began the second half on the stronger foot pulling together some really good passes and dissecting Footie First to almost score the first goal of the game but somehow couldn't finish off the move at the crucial moment. The team looked more lively in the second half and began to take control of the game. Footie First started to tire but continued to stick with their game plan to slow down the game and play with more physicality which eventually paid off and secured their first goal of the game which came off a side kick and a lapse in concentration from FAST.
For the first time FAST was down by a goal but that didn't seem to deter the girls. They continued playing their style of game and remained patient in their build up not letting the heat of the sun or the opponents tactics get the better of them. They started to get their rhythm going with Harshini and Alisha leading from the front. While they were drawing their opponents out from their half with some good passing and switch of play an unfortunate clearance from Shivika ended up hitting the face off a Footie First player and rebounding back into her own goal making it 2-0 at the near end of the game.
At this late stage of the game with 2 goals down most teams would have packed up and thrown in the towel but not today. The girls were determined to get something back and stuck to their game plan. They began to throw everything at the opponents with less than 5 minutes of the game left to play. And finally a long range effort from Nyesha found the back of the net which breathed life into the team and suddenly Footie First began to panic. FAST coach Alok made an offensive change and went all out for another goal substituting a defender for an offensive player in which the team continued their onslaught and that move paid off with Vedika finding herself in front of goal with a brilliant pass from Alisha to tap the ball into the goal levelling the score 2-2 and sending the crowd in an uproar frenzy. The team kept pushing for the win and came soo close on couple of occasions but that wasn't the case with the referee blowing the final whistle and ending the game with a 2-2 draw.
Though this was not the result the team expected, they certainly showed character and composure in getting a point out the game on a day when nothing seemed to be working for them.
The team finished their group games at the top of the table and with no loss. However, the game against Footie First was definitely a wake up call and could not have come at a better time where the competition is beginning to heat up with tougher opponents coming up in the next stage of the league.
Onto the second round of group games for team FAST, can they go all the way.........?
Goal scorers:- Nyesha - 1 Vedika - 1
Assists:- Alisha - 1
Star of the match:- Harshini Iyer