The 3rd match of the season kicked off at Leafield Athletic FC’s Rumbush Stadium, Solihull on Saturday.
The fact that the match was played at all was down to the commitment of parents, and as always Jason’s efforts behind the scenes to recruit new players!
Twins Hannah & Loris arrived hot from passing their Judo grading and Sinead a new player joined the fold making a squad of 8 players.
From the kick off , Athletic looked a well drilled team – they were bigger in size and had the added benefit of a season or two behind them.
Starlands were soon behind, gifting the home team an early goal. Athletic hammered a corner into the near post and it deflected in off the unfortunate Loris marking the front post giving Holly no chance.
After last week’s confidence boosting draw – Starlands heads were in danger of dropping. To their credit they kept battling on. Their formation was better – but they could not get the ball out of their half. Only the long kicks from Holly gave them brief periods of relief.
The referee was enforcing the rules to the letter of the law, and play was very stop start – with regular foul throws being given by the Starlands girls. From one of these, Leafield immediately put the pressure on and scored making it 2-0.The signs were looking ominous for Starlands.
Again Starlands contributed to their downfall, a goal kick went straight to the Leafield striker who returned the ball into the back of the net.
It was soon 4-0 – a well worked goal by Leafield showing skill and good passing and a great cross resulted in a lovely goal.
Holly was making some outstanding saves time after time from long range shots. Other encouraging signs were, the influence of Sinead the newest member of the team – and Georgia having her best game with some crucial tackles.
The 5th goal came just before half time – another well taken corner putting the ball into box at height with power and Starlands failing to clear.
Half time could not come soon enough for The Coach Becky to rally The Starlands girls.
In the second half, Starlands only conceded 1 goal. Leafield had their chances – but some excellent last ditch tackling and blocking by Hannah and Loris prevented further goals. A goal line clearance was made by Samantha, but the ball was only pushed out as far as the Leafield striker. Holly bravely dived at the feet of the on rushing striker and there was a pile up of players. This resulted in Holly injuring her hand and receiving treatment but she battled on, continuing to make some fine fingertip saves.
Starlands became more influential as the match continued – Martha and Georgia putting themselves on the line with some crunching tackles, something Leafield or the referee did not fail to notice.Soon, all 50/50 challenge decisions were going Leafields way.
Starlands went close from a poor goalkeepers kick by Leafield. The ball fell to Hafsah whose snap shot was partially cleared but the follow up was again saved.
The game finished with Starlands playing the stronger. The girls had put up a heroic second half display and successfully ensured they did not concede more than 6 goals against a very good side.
All the girls enjoyed themselves and were a credit to Starlands – hopefully Holly’s hand will not prevent her doing this week’s school homework?!
Girl of The Game was awarded to new recruit Sinead who showed great promise in her first game.