Flutes first outing in O55s Cup ends in honourable defeat!

Result : LOSS 0-4 vs St Albans O55

Match Report : Jo Price

This was the first time that the Flutes had entered into an O55s competition as we have never had enough players of that vintage before.  We were lucky enough to extend the Flutey ‘ amily’ by snaffling several opposition players from our O45 game in December and with some injury and unavailability we were especially  grateful to Deb, Lorna and Julie for turning out  on a cold wet afternoon in February.

Our hearts had sunk somewhat when we again drew local rivals St Albans as they are one of the few clubs who have plenty of eligible players and are always able to field a strong team.  A big shout-out to Captain Lynn Bryden who worked tirelessly to ensure that the game went ahead and from only ten players last week we bowled up to find that miraculously we now had one sub.  The opposition, however, had a squad of sixteen.

Flutes were the sharper in the opening minutes but as As began to find their range with some quick triangular passing and regular change of personnel, we found ourselves pushed back into our defensive half.  Our backline did an impressive job of timing their tackles and transferring around the back but the visitors, knowing each other well, were equally good at doing the same and finding each other, with some neat interplay.  Hard balls that had been flying off the end were now starting to find a high player and some persistent pressure eventually resulted in a St Albans forward finding space to jink through the middle and get a good strike on goal.  There was a suggestion of back stick but that’s the rub of the green and As were on the scorecard.

Deadlock broken, the opposition were now playing with increasing confidence resulting in a number of PCs.  Missing front-runner Kathy Hammond through injury ,the backline employed a ‘box’ defence.  This worked well initially with Jo Berndes doing a sterling job of breaking down the play but eventually a really good strike found the target.

With the threat of the floodgates opening Flutes began throwing caution to the wind, pressing higher to gain control of the midfield.  Annette Woodrow  driving the ball through the centre to Caroline Hunt  and getting some moves going down the right with Jo Price and Jennie Wilson, enabling the home side to get on the offensive and forcing  the As keeper into action.  We were not able to turn this into a goal but were able to end the first half on the front foot.

We started the second half knowing that our best chance of scoring would come from hassling our opponents – attack wide and defend narrow.  Needless to say this is easier said than done, particularly with only one sub.  Pea Page pushing up on the left was able to make some attacking moves down that wing and with the midfield running tirelessly we were able to create some chances in the box.  This inevitably left us a little open at the back and with ten minutes to go the visitors got a breakaway and  able to pass around the outnumbered defence  slotted in from the back post.  With little time to recover this took the wind out of our sails and, although we continued to give it everything, this was the point where a small squad really told.

St Albans, sensing their chance, won a timely PC.  With a good injection  A’s receiver shaped for a flick but cleverly turned her shot into a low drive onto the backboard.  The 0-4 scoreline is not a reflection of the balance of play and it is very encouraging that a scratch Flutes squad of 12 put on a great performance. Plenty of candidates for POM particularly in the defence but our winner this week was Kim BL who dovetailed so well with Jo B at CB.

We now await our opponents for the first round of the plate and are keeping  fingers crossed to have all our eligible players available. You can but hope!   Thanks to Kathy and Elaine for managing ,supporting and taking the pics. Now we just need them back on the pitch!