Since the extended winter break the girls have shown a step change improvement in their play in possession. However, as is often the case in football you don’t always get what you deserve and results haven’t reflected the quality of play. However, we were confident that if we continued to play as well as we have been doing the results would follow, and at some point someone would be on the wrong end of a big score.
We made a good start, as Ottie put in a pinpoint cross. Chelsie rose to meet it with her head and did well to steer the ball beyond the ‘keeper, but was out of luck as the ball just cleared the crossbar.We didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal, however. From an Alfreton goal kick Chelsie retreated to the half way line, taking her defender with her and creating space in front of goal. As the ‘keeper kicked the ball, Chelsie raced forward leaving her marker for dead and intercepted the kick, a quick one two with Tash put Chelsie into the space with only the keeper to beat. The first shot was parried but Chelsie put the rebound away to put us ahead. A minute later and Ottie hit the post with a shot – after five minutes we could already have been three up.
Just after half way through the half, we were somewhat fortunately awarded a free kick inside the penalty area, when a defender was harshly judged to have passed back to the keeper. The keeper parried BethJ’s free kick but Beth lashed home the rebound for 2-0.
As the half drew to a close we were awarded a corner. Jess put the ball right under the crossbar and it only needed a touch, which Tash duly provided to round off a first half in which she had been outstanding in central midfield and put us 3-0 ahead at the interval.
It was important we started the second half strongly, and didn’t allow Alfreton back into the game – but it needed a good save from Vicky in the first minute. The importance of that save was underlined shortly afterwards as Jordele scored two goals in as many minutes. The first of these was created by Chelsie who worked a position in front of goal, drew the keeper, and unselfishly squared the ball to Jordele to sweep it into the net from about 10 yards.
Our aim now was to keep a clean sheet and Vicky was again called into action to keep the goals against column blank, but she could do nothing to prevent Alfreton pulling a goal back after quarter of an hour, as we dithered in our penalty area and attempted to turn infield in a crowded area, and gifted the ball to Alfreton’s striker who could not miss from five yards. A minute later and Chelsie was played in by a precise through ball by Jess, to score her second and our sixth.
Alfreton pulled a second goal back shortly before skipper Beth went down under challenge and had to be helped from the pitch. It looked a bad injury as her ankle swelled up to the size of a tennis ball very quickly but, fortunately, it is not as bad as we feared and is badly sprained.
With only a minute left Jess crossed for Jordele to hit the ball in from close range off the underside of the crossbar for her hat trick. In added time, Alfreton were awarded a free kick outside the area, which was well struck but Vicky watched it all the way and gathered the shot safely. Final score 7-2.
It was nice to finally see our approach play finished off and the result and score was no more than we deserved as the girls used the ball well – some of our combination play was really good – switching play and getting the ball to the wide players - Jess, Ottie and Hannah – who put in some terrific crosses. Jordele’s pace and energy never gave Alfreton’s defenders a moment’s respite. Chelsie’s link up play with her strike partner, and with Tash and Beth in midfield, and Jess, Ottie and Hannah on the flanks, was excellent. At the back, skipper Beth was commanding, and was ably supported by Carly, Tilly and BethT and all four also used the ball well when bringing it from the back. Behind the defence, Vicky showed good positioning, handled the ball confidently, distributed it well, and could be heard giving information to her defenders throughout the game. Overall, this wa s another good performance, a pleasure to watch and, unfortunately for our opponents, a result that has been coming. Well done girls. Result:
Alfreton Town 2-7 Pride Park JuniorsScorers:
Jordele (3), Chelsie (2), BethJ, Tash
P.S. please note change to date of Challenge Cup Final - which has been moved from1 May to April 25th.
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