Match report 4th Feb 2024. Flutes v Old Cranleighans
Result – lost 1-2
Match report by Jo Price
With no O45 league fixture since November it was great to be back on the pitch with the Flutes again. With a long journey for OCs from Thames Ditton we were hoping for some home advantage but they were still able to field 15 players against our 12. They also had a significantly lower average age than the home team.
Play was fairly equal in the first 15 minutes with some smart exchanges up and down the pitch from both teams but with Cranleighans looking a little more dangerous in our D. Our defence were up to the challenge clearing their lines well until a tussle in front of goal saw Hells required to come off her line but a wily slip to her non-stick side wrong-footed her and the ball slid over the goal line.
Everyone was now fully warmed to the task and we began playing with more resolve enabling us to create more chances in our attacking half. With most of our play down the right hand side in the first quarter we changed tack and switched to the left. Our best chance came from Andrea driving in to make a shot and with the keeper on the deck was unlucky to catch a bobbling ball to her reverse stick which went just wide of the post. Moments later a sharp cross from the left found Jo P inside the top of the D but a strong strike went agonisingly wide.
With sound advice from Magda and Elaine at half time we set about the second half with renewed determination. There was some excellent passing and tackling from the whole team. The defence continued to do a sterling job transferring around the back to link with the mids or peppering the flanks to create attacking opportunities. Relentless running from the forwards gave us some scoring opportunities and we were finally rewarded when a lovely team move resulted in a short corner. Laura stepped up to inject and a good strike from Annette at the top of the D was picked up by Jo W in front of goal and slotted home.
The game continued to be evenly matched and a draw would have been a fair result. However a twist of fate in the final ten minutes saw Laura take a nasty jolt to the jaw and she was forced to leave the pitch. OCs, sensing their chance, used their subs well and pressed high in search of a winner resulting in a short corner. Their first attempt was well covered by our runners but was brought back due to an early injection. Making no mistake with the second, a nifty slip to the left allowed a strike on goal which was initially cleared off the line but only as far as an alert OC forward moving in to put the ball away. With only moments remaining this effectively put the game to bed.
Although it was disappointing not to be able to hold out for the draw this was a very enjoyable match played in good spirit and producing a really good all-round team performance, so much so that we decided not to award an individual POM but instead commend the whole team.
Next stop a long haul trip against Harleston Magpies in the O55s Plate on 25th February.