Today Starlands entertained Coundon Court on a gloriously sunny day! What a difference it makes.
The pitch looked good, the respect barrier was up,the dug out looked professional and ALL the girls arrived in good time allowing for Libby to take them for a warm up.
We were missing Ellie who was watching WBA v Chelsea in London and a last minute cry off from Grace who was unwell. This meant that we were lacking a player who could put their foot on the ball and find a pass.
However, Starlands were up for this game - and with some recent good practice sessions under our belt the signs were looking good.
Starlands were at Coundon right from the off, applying all of the early pressure.
We should have been 3-0 up within 20 minutes with some lovely pressure, interplay and passing of the ball. However, the Coundon keeper made some terrific saves! and kept them in the game.
Amber had a couple blocked, Alex was unlucky and Hannah also had a shot blocked. We never seem to get any luck!...and when the ball broke to Kiera on the edge of the box her instinctive shot just drifted high and wide!....the crowd were loving this new Starlands play.
But, just as quickly as we nearly scored - Coundon went straight down the other end and when the defence failed to close down the player on the edge of the box - a speculative shot flew agonisingly over Holly making it 1-0 to Coundon. This was completely against the run of the play - and from comments made to me on the side line - Our girls had the Coundon management team worried!
The 1-0 lead gave Coundon some confidence - and knocked us for six.
We had to make a few changes to give all the girls a game.This is always difficult - as it was the most comfortable we have looked all season, and bringing on new players always disrupts the team. But, Ruby certainly added a little extra effort and pace !
In the second half we started to struggle a little at the back, and could not keep up with the paces of their winger. We also failed to close down their players - and try to get to the ball first. Too often we were ball watching and letting Coundon get to the ball first.
Saying that, there were some really great battling and determined perfomances from Sinead and Laurice ably assisted by Chloe and Kiera.
Holly who was Captain - made some amazing saves! diving and tipping one particular shot around the post!...even I nearly shouted Whoop Whoop!....or whatever it is the girls have taken to shouting!
1-0 became , 2-0 and then we should have had a penalty with a hand ball , but it was not given - and they broke and made it 3-0....Words failed me at this point. When it then became 4-0 after we failed to clear the ball...the girls were looking like they might collapse...
However, we were later rewarded with a penalty after another hand ball. The pressure was really on Amber who has missed two previous penalties. However, a pre match team talk about penalties paid off, and she bravely stepped up and slotted it in the far right hand corner. The Coundon Keeper tried her best to dive to save, but it was in!!!! 4-1!!!
This stirred the girls on...and they had a few chances when corners were fizzed into the box by Sinead, and Rosie just failed to get on the end of...similarly Alex,Hafsah and Samantha also nearly got on the end of balls in the box. Maybe just a little more composure on the ball?...or sometimes just taking a chance and anticipating a pass?...It'll come :)
Coundon scored another couple, catching us on the break when we were valiantly trying to push on and score. Great goals tucked into the corner.
Holly was playing really well, and out of hand it was the best I have seen her kick. Jade was trying her best and made some telling blocks!
When Hafsah came back on after being subbed - she looked a little more composed and played some nice balls through to Rosie and Amber. There was some encouraging link up play with ALex and Kiera in midfield. One particular ball was slid through to Amber who took her goal brilliantly!...SHe took it first time and bent it around the keeper 5-2.
Coundon made it a disappointing 6-2 as the game drew to a close....and in no way did the scoreline reflect what could easily have been the opposite result.
It was a tale of 2 halves !....It was nice to see us score. It was nice to see us actually DOMINATE a half! and as always it is nice to see us keep going to the very end. Well done!
Rosie was awarded Girl Of The Game - for a much improved performance - Remember to keep the effort up!
Two lovely goals from Amber, another 'Herculean' effort from Laurice and some 'worldy' saves from Holly were all of note. Well Done!
Next weeks game is AWAY to Woodstar Rangers - Only down the road ( Back of The KFC, Walsall Wood.)