This week - I must be honest I was praying for rain or a severe frost.
On tuesday at training I knew we would be missing Chloe,Ruby,Samantha and Alex.
On Saturday morning Sinead pulled out due to illness - and Hannah bravely played on despite a temperature and sore throat.
I dragged Ben up to the pitch with me at 08.30...and was met with a gloriously sunny morning! there was no frost and the pitch was playable.
So,...all systems GO!....Gornal arrived in plenty of time...and despite the texts,emails,facebook and Twitter - Our Girls arrived in dribs and drabs after 10am!
Gornal were warmed up and ready to go! They even turned up with 4 coaches!!!!!!
Nevertheless, with minutes to spare Hafsah arrived making it a bare 10 players for Starlands. It was going to be a tough ask...
Gornal are current run away league leaders - They have not lost and even given teams in The Premiership 12-1 beatings!!! and they beat Brinklow with a record breaking 27-0 victory????!!!!
The game kicked off - with Starlands playing 3 at the back,5 in midfield and Amber roaming up front. We were determined not to sit back - and try and give Gornal a game. However, ALL the girls had strict instructions - 1.DO NOT MESS ABOUT IN OUR BOX! KICK IT OUT! and CLEAR THE BALL! 2. DO NOT RUSH, SLOW THINGS DOWN and 3.CLOSE DOWN THE OPPOSITION
We started well, albeit we were defending for long periods and did not get into their half, we did not conceded early on.
However, the first goal, came not closing down Gornal. From the edge of the box a finely struck shot flew into the top corner! Unstoppable!
The second closely followed, Holly managed to get down to the ball, but the ball was fumbled and went through her gloves. A silly goal and not deserved.
The 3rd goal, Holly bravely came off her line but just jumped up at the last minute and the ball slid under her.
The 4th goal was a lovely through ball and tucked away at the near post.
The 5th came form our throw in , instead of concentrating - we threw it directly to the Gornal player who went through and scored.
Starlands were not closing down - allowing Gornal to get to the ball first, and when we did get the ball in our box we did not clear??!!...I know its Christmas but we were giving gifts away to Gornal.Against a quality team like this - we were always going to get punished.
Saying that, the pressure was relentless, and the back three of Hannah,Hafsah adding a little more pace and Laurice were awesome! Laurice was putting 110% in and an inspiration to the other girls! Amber as Captain was tracking back to help out.
Ellie was putting herself in front of the shots and bravely took some whacks! and kept going! Well done.
The 6th goal came from a shot deflected by Holly which bounced off the post - and Gornal were the quicker to respond.
Starlands, never ever give up!...and a lovely break from Rosie to Kiera to Ellie fed Amber who was through on goal...cynically taken down as she was about to pull the trigger!....Amber stood up to take the penalty , struck it well - but it was high and down the middle. The Gornal keeper stood her ground and made the save!!!...Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!.... a goal would have been nice - but, never mind.
The 7th and last of the half, came from a Starlands attack in The Gornal half. They intercepted the ball, and despite Grace tracking back all the way!...the pin point cross came in and the Gornal player tucked it away with clinical precision! Great goal!
7-0 at half time...We could have scored ! and we gifted 3 goals....So, The girls did very very well. Not forgetting we were a player short - and not able to bring on fresh legs. Excellent effort - and I was rightly proud. Holly had made some terrific saves.
Jade had listened to the pre match team talk - and cleared the ball every time.
It was a lot to ask the midfield to track back - I know Kiera has a great engine and stamina, and it is not as easy for Rosie,Jade and Ellie. However,they have other abilities to find a pass - But, with a little encouragement they ALL kept going! Well done.
The second half started with Starlands again not conceeding.But, yet again a failure to clear the ball from a corner led to the 8th. Soon after Gornal followed up with a 9th,10th,11th,12th,13th,14th...Now, I know I can be biased in my reporting - But, Seriously these goals were preventable!!!!! just kick it out!!! We are our own worst enemies!.....
Holly made save after save...the ball hit the post, bar, defence,went wide etc. Yet , Starlands still gave their all. We had a few opportunities to break - and finished the game strongly.
For a lot of the second half Starlands were down to 9 players when Hannah took another whack! and had to go off. I am greatful for her playign at all - and she sums up everything that is good about our team! We play with a smile, we enjoy ourselves,look out for each other and give 100%.
Laurice, was still chasing everything - and Hafsahs pace was paying dividends at the back.
There was alot of moving players out of their normal position - and Thank you to the girls for not moaning!
The game finished with a 15th goal. Gornal richly deserved their victory - They are a class act and will win the League and maybe the Cup.
The game was played in the right spirit -and it was nice not to have any sideline incidents. Well done girls and spectators.
A big thank you to the referee for not playing extra time!!!
Next weeks away match against Redditch is postponed. On the Friday night there is The Christmas Party...ENjoy yourselves :)
Today, I hope all the parents and yourselves are very proud of your performance! Well done.
Girl of The Game went to Laurice for her inspirational performance! and not getting injured!!!....shame Hannah did instead?!!
p.s I DID NOT GET MY TRADITIONAL AFTER MATCH PHOTO!!!!!! ;(