National Women’s Championship

Southgate Ladies 2 Norwich City Ladies 2 (Southgate won 4-3 on flicks)

Phew! The Ladies needed flicks to get past a determined and resolute Norwich side on Sunday in the Championship to advance to the quarter final and an away trip to Spencer. We dominated the game from the start and having taken the lead after just three minutes, when skipper Charlotte tucked home expertly after a quick attack down the left, we should have finished the game in the first half. VBL was pretty much untroubled in goal until just before the half hour mark when Norwich equalised from a penalty corner. In the meantime the Norwich keeper had been worked significantly but was showing great agility in keeping us at bay. Our midfield was in charge with Ella Duthie, making her competitive debut for the L1’s, was working hard down the left, Jess was dominating the right hand side whilst Sofia was orchestrating the team from the middle and Ellie Rob was driving us forward at every opportunity. Tabbie at right half was a constant menace to Norwich, drifting forward and creating a creative overload on the right and. Caitlin C on the left was having an outstanding match. Chances came and went before Norwich finally stirred to leave us all level at half time.

DSC06379 Southgate on the defence – Jo Price
DSC06381 On the ball Julie Rodriguez – Jo Price
DSC06382 Attempt goes wide – Jo Price
DSC06385 Foiled attack for SHC – Jo Price

Having allowed the visitors back into the game we started the 2nd half slowly and Norwich capitalised by taking the lead after just 5 minutes. The team thus stirred reacting by taking almost total control of the game for the remainder of the match. It took about 10 minutes for the pressure to pay off as the ever reliable Millie BC latched on to an opportunity in the D and finished superbly to get us level again. Bobbie and Sheff were now in full control at the back and handling any breaks that Norwich could fashion, but the frustration lay at the other end where we just couldn’t find a way past the ‘yellow wall’. The visitors  were roared on by a partisan group on the steps and a very vocal coach, but the faithful Southgate fans were also in good voice creating a great atmosphere. With the final whistle greeted by Norwich as if they’d won the competition itself we had the drama of flicks to settle the outcome.

DSC06392 Foiled attack for Norwich – Jo Price
DSC06399 Great defence led by Caitlin Creeley- Jo Price
DSC06401 Milly BC on the ball – Jo Price

5 brave players volunteered to step up for us, two of them Under 16’s (ah the confidence of Youth!), VBL looked determined to play her part and make it as difficult for the opposition as possible. It must be said the Norwich keeper tried delaying tactics and mind games but it had absolutely no affect, Caitlin C slammed home our first with utter contempt for the nonsense and Norwich tucked theirs away as well. Tabbie stepped up second and gave the keeper no chance, whilst the Norwich effort was blocked by VBL who reacted quickly stopping a shot just to her right giving us the advantage. Sofia hobbled up for our third, having had to leave the pitch just before the end after getting a ball smashed onto her foot, but this didn’t affect her at all and she put us 3-1 ahead. VBL almost reached the next flick but it crept in to bring it back to 3-2. Millie BC took our 4th, I have never in been so sure someone would score and she didn’t disappoint thundering it home, I think the keeper I still looking for it now. 4-2, Norwich had to score to keep it alive but VBL gave the taker a hard stare, a la Paddington, and she put it wide!! Terrific drama entertained all who watched the game, many fine performances in the home team but for me Caitlin C took the honours on the pitch for player of the match, off the pitch it was a toss-up between Kate Collier and Francis Martin for vocal performance of the day.

DSC06412 ELLIE Robinson on the surge. – Jo Price
DSC06418 Great Penalty in the shootout from Caitlin Creeley – Jo Price
DSC06425 Final missed penalty from Norwich taking SHC through to second round. – Jo Price
DSC06426 A jubilant VBL with teammates at final whistle. – Jo Price