Result – won 2-1
report by Jo Price
So into the final month and the return match against local rivals H&MH for a lunchtime encounter on a sunny day at Southgate.
Both teams fielded sides with a mixture of youth and experience and for the first time in many weeks we had our full quota of 14 players. Izzy, sidelined for the next few weeks, was there to manage the subs and take photos while Richard D was in the dugout to give coaching tips and deliver the half time talk.
Play was a little scrappy at the start but we were able to get on top and had most of the possession although initially we struggled to create any real chances on the goal. There was some strong transferring around the back with the visitors finding it hard to make any inroads into the circle. Our breakthrough finally came when Sally made one of her signature moves down the right into the D and squeezed the ball from an acute angle past a surprised keeper.
Minutes later a well-struck cross from Andrea was slotted home by Jos who was beautifully poised in front of goal. However, as we all turned to celebrate, the goal was belatedly disallowed due to the ball clipping a Southgate player on its passage across the D.
Towards the end of the first half Hendon were beginning to find some space through the middle putting our defence under pressure for the first time, and were eventually rewarded with a goal. A quick re-jig of positions by Kim and we were back on the offence but still unable to find the elusive goal thus finishing the half 1-1.
Needing to ensure that we gave ourselves the best chance to win this game, we opted to keep a stable backline during the second half and utilise our subs in the mid and the forward line. We had the lion’s share of the chances, Sarah shooting just wide of the left post then having a high shot disallowed. Asha showed some silky skills driving into the D but could not find the backboard and, in one of the best moves of the match, a swift ball out of defence found Sharon in space ,she made a great run towards goal but was thwarted by a brave clearance by their keeper. Eventually, it was Sally again who determinedly found her way through to secure what turned out to be our winning goal.
H&MH had a couple of breaks of their own but were unable tp capitalise with the back four continuing to intercept and transfer well. This was a game of variable quality, some lovely moves but equally some scrappy play from both sides. However, most importantly we took all 3 points which keeps us at the top of the league.
WOW was a close run affair between Asha and Bhu – the latter taking the honours for sweeping so well throughout the second half- despite carrying an injury.
Next game WHE away which will provide a stern challenge after our uncharacteristic heavy loss to them in November, but with 5 wins on the bounce spirits are high as we continue our drive for promotion