Saturday 14th April 2012 - Kingshurst Diamonds 2 - Starlands St.Annes 0
Today STARLAND'S Girls travelled to Kingshurst to play their DIAMONDS team.
Previously Starland's lost 5-1 and DIAMONDS looked by far the better side.
Today, STARLAND's were a player or two short - with Hafsah and Jade absent ,and a last minute withdrawal of their Captain Lauris due to a trampoline accident.
So,STARLAND's were uncertain of what lay in store of them.
From the off, STARLAND's were first out the traps and right into DIAMONDS.
The game was being played in both teams halves - but STARLAND's were marshalling the threat of DIAMONDS No.12 Quarja superbly. Hannah & Sinead were double teaming any attacking threat and Sam,Alex and Martha were tracking back and cutting out any threat.
Up front, Georgia looked a force to be reckoned with - She was out to prove a point, and having recovered from last weeks injury looked in top form.
Captain for The Day was Holly - Who was focused on the game.She was coming off her line and clearing any threat.She was kicking dead balls to the wide positions rather than down the middle , and kicking out of her hand almost resulted in an early goal for STARLAND's.
Fans and players alike were encouraged by how they were giving DIAMONDS a real test.
STARLAND's had the first shot of the game, a long ball clearance from Holly was pushed onto Georgia who was using her strength to bustle past the big defenders.SHe was using her close control and pace and getting away - narrowly shooting wide.
STARLAND's were probably helped by the smaller pitch which meant that their superior work rate and ability to hunt in packs - allowed them to swarm over the DIAMOND's players and put them under a great deal of pressure. The DIAMOND's girls were unable to spray the ball around and STARLAND's were first to every ball - and were solid in the tackle.
Georgia made another break and was tripped on the edge of the box. A direct free kick resulted in a good effort just sailing over.It could have been 2-0 to STARLANDS!...DIAMOND players and fans were becoming increasingly frustrated.
Another good throw in from Alex down the line found Georgia who took a shot come cross again narrowly going over the bar.This was amazing stuff from STARLAND's and the more pressure and shots with no result - just nagged at the back of the mind that we might just live to regret not taking our chances.
Another STARLANDs break was set up by some tenacious tackling by Sam and a clearance led to a shot from Georgia which was followed up by Alex.
The new defensive partnership of Hannah & Sinead was looking really good.What STARLANDS missed with Lauris long throw and crunching tackles - was made up for in mobility and reading of the game.It was really great to watch - a great to know that we now have 3 great defenders at The Club.
DIAMONDS had some presure on STARLAND's but Holly was punching the crosses clear and picking the ball up rather than kicking away possession.
Alex made way for Rosie who gave STARLAND's new options in her ability to control and find a pass.Soon after a lovely break was set up between Martha & Sam, Rosie found her way forward and got a shot away.But, still no goal ! The half was to end 0-0. This was so exciting and frustrating at the same time!
Martha was like a new player - her last appearance at this ground was not her best.Yet, today - she was tracking back and determined in the tackle.She even knocked their biggest player to the floor at one stage - and gave them a real taste of the power of her tackling.More of the same next week Martha!
Second half, DIAMONDS came out fast.They were on to The STARLANDS goal and only a quick thinking Holly coming off her line - managed to thwart the attack.The deflected ball went wide.
Martha threw a quick ball to Georgia who put through Rosie who shot wide. If only STARLAND's took the ball a little closer before shooting from distance...
Alex was back on and made some good defensive clearances and Sam had made a great header clearance and anther through ball to Georgia who had her shot saved. Georgia was having her best game to date - infact all the team were playing for each other and were superb.
Georgia once again broke free of the defence and should have scored - it went agonisingly wide.
DIAMONDS then seized their chance and Quarja their No.12 managed to slip free of Hannah and Sinead and slid a ball past Holly. STARLAND's found themselves unjustly 1-0 down.Their players and fans were very ,very ,very relieved! and their cartwheels showed how much pressure they had been under.Quarja latched onto another ball and as she slipped manged to poke it towards goal wrong footing Holly.That was 2-0 and never deserved.
Soon after Georgia hit the cross bar with a lovely curling free kick following her being knocked over when through on goal.It was unbelievable how we had not scored! and how we were losing!?
Just to add salt to the wounds - DIAMOND's hit a cross towards The STARLAND's goal.Hannah caught the ball instinctively - and almost instantaneously released it ..Too late! The Referee and everyone had seen it. Everyone included STARLAND's players found it hysterical.
Up stepped the No.20 and Big defender to take the penalty.Holly was focused - and made a tremendous save to keep it 2-0.
STARLAND's were not done there - and Georgia had yet another opportunity to go through on goal, which was to result in nothing.
The game soon finished - with DIAMONDS as winners.However, everyone knew who the 'real' winners were!....STARLANDS were fantastic!...and whilst Becky was hesitant in offering any single player The Girl Of The Game..
ALL the girls voted Georgia as Girl of The Game.Great game and all that was missing to top of a perfect performance was a goal.
Encouraging to see how much The girls are improving - and it all bodes well for next season.
A first victory is not far away!!!! ....and on the day of The Grand National, I'll bet on that!!!