Bonfire Night saw Us welcome Leafield Athletic back – a well organised outfit whose only 2 defeats had come at the hands of the League’s top two teams.
It promised to be a real contest and it proved to be so.
Starlands were without midfield terrier Martha but welcomed back speedy Hafsa back after injury.
The game roared to life from the start as Starlands quickly forced a first minute corner. Georgia’s right wing corner was only scrambled to the edge of the area where an awkwardly bouncing ball was returned over the bar by Starlands ever improving player Hannah.
The match was end to end, a Leafield break down the right resulted in a flashing cross past Holly’s goal and away to safety.The tide was turning Leafield’s way despite Hannah’s herculean efforts in midfield to stem the flow.
Twice in the space of as many minutes Sinead & Loris blocked goal bound efforts.
Another Leafield break down the right saw Georgia come sliding across with an excellently timed challenge.
Regardless of all the delightful Leafield football – It was a direct kick from the goalkeeper which split the Starlands defence – and was clinically finished past an unprotected Holly. This goal was a bitter blow after Starlands hard work. Worse was to follow four minutes later when good Leafield play presented another opportunity which was duly dispatched.
Starlands rallied well, driven on by Hannah who was having the game of her life. Starlands were playing the best football of their season.
Rachel was chasing down everything. She won a throw in level with the 18 yrd box. Starlands very own Loris ‘Delap’ hurled a ball into the box – flicked on by Hannah, Samantha was bursting into the 6 yrd box. Unfortunately her composure didn’t match her work rate and her half hit shot was smothered by the keeper.
At the other end Holy produced a great tumbling save at the foot of her right post.Reminiscent of Gordon Banks v Pele. ( Google it if you’re lucky enough to be too young!) Somehow she clawed the ball away!
As the half drew to a close – Starlands looked the more likely to score – with Rachel shooting just wide and Georgia having a ferocious 20yard drive beaten away by the goalkeeper. The clearance went straight up the Starlands end catching them out. Only another fine save kept the score at 0-2.
That ended a breathless first half – and Starlands were unfortunate not to have scored at least once.
The second half started as the first finished – End to End. Georgia ran down the right past 3 players only to see her cross blocked. This was then followed by a great tackle by Sinead to clear the lines.
The Leafield left winger was met by the power of Loris and Georgia whose combined effort moved player and ball over the dead ball line for a corner.
Sinead put Geogia away who went on a mazy run finding another cross blocked.
Starlands were all playing well – and Hafsa showed no signs of her injuries from her recent accident.
12 minutes into the second half saw Leafield seal the game. Then immediately followed 7 slick passes and a tap in and another goal! It was goal of the game.
In the next 5 minutes Leafield showed some tremendous finishing in front of goal – Holly had no chance. On the other hand – chances went begging for the home team. Georgia was unlucky to over run another fine solo effort, allowing the keeper to smother her shot. Again, Georgia was released by a lovely pass form Hafsa – to fail to pull it back for the on rushing and unmarked Hafsa.
Holly saved another point blank shot – yet it was somehow 0-9?!
With minutes left Starlands were still goal less, but it looked like changing. The non-stop Samantha was tripped 22 yards out. Georgia hit the resulting free kick like a rocket over the wall, destined for the top corner – but somehow the keeper pushed it away. Next thing it was 10 nil.
With seconds to go , Samantha burst forward into the area. She was tripped before she could shoot...Penalty!...surely a goal?
With Georgia off the field injured – it fell to Rachel to take the penalty, and the chance to become leading goal scorer. But it was not to be, the shot went off target.
That proved to be the last kick of the game
Starlands had suffered their heaviest defeat – But strangely had played their best football and had more shots than in previous games.
Unfortunately, clinical finishing by Leafield and at times slack marking meant Starlands would never win, but not to score was more painful a result.
Samantha was duly named Girl Of the Game for her ‘Never say Die’ Atititude. But everyone can be proud of their efforts.
That first win is not far away…and the next team may just feel the force of a Starland backlash!
*Thanks to Mark ( Georgia’s Dad) for The Match Report – subject to editorial priviledge!. If anyone else would like to have a go please let me know!*