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Ladies 2s 2 - 2 Witney 1s (A)

7th November 2022

By Beckie Middleton

In a game where the Ladies 2s dominated possession, chances, penalty corners and pretty much every other statistic that might indicate a good performance, the one thing we weren’t able to do was score more goals than the opposition.

Maybe seeing us comparing our Garmin data before the game scared them, but with no ball patrol and some extraordinarily leisurely attempts to collect the ball and start playing when they had a hit out or sideline, Witney clearly planned to slow the game down from the start. We do have some quick and skilful players, but it is a bit boring when the other team is employing “game management” tactics ten minutes in…

Despite a somewhat lopsided approach to attacking, Witney were steady on the ball and had one or two breakaways. I’m genuinely not sure I remember them playing down their right hand side once during the first half. Anyway, with some strong performances across our screen and defensive lines, we kept them at bay pretty comfortably for the most part.

After Will’s tactical training in the week, we knew what to expect from their press and did a great job of shifting the ball around with a good balance of patient passing, incisive dribbling and timely deliveries into the circle. The final touch wasn’t quite there and our corner routines weren’t clicking, but despite going into half time at 0-0, it felt as if the elusive goal was bound to come.

However, when it finally arrived the first goal was at the wrong end of the pitch for us. After a first corner strike was saved, Witney bundled the rebound in and the crowd began to get a bit rowdy sensing a potential upset brewing.

We bounced back well, Denno scoring with a first time finish to make it 1-1 ten minutes into the final quarter. After a raucous team celebration, I very sensibly called for calm heads as we headed back to the halfway line. And then promptly proceeded to get myself a yellow card for a clumsy attempt at a tackle within about two seconds of their pushback. Brilliant. (Sorry girls.)

The rest of the girls did stay composed and continued to push forward, and I missed how the ball ended up getting there but saw the net ripple as Meg unleashed what I can only assume was a ripper of a shot high into the goal.

The clock was ticking and with us still down to ten but now in the lead the game was on a bit of a knife edge. Time dragged on the naughty step and with a couple of minutes to go a contentious corner was given against us for what looked like a clean win on our baseline. Frustratingly, they scored again to make it 2-2.

We attacked immediately from the pushback and Harri, like she had done all game, rinsed a couple of players on the right wing and won a corner after being on the end of a couple of desperate stick tackles.

So, this was it. Approximately our 300th corner of the game and a chance to nick a late winner for a second week running. For probably the first time in the match we nailed the push out, trap and delivery. Could this be the moment? No. After very much enjoying the first 60, I completed a pretty forgetful final ten minutes of the game on a personal level by deflecting the ball just wide of the left post. (Again, sorry team.)

Witney’s celebrations at the final whistle demonstrated quite how pleased (and probably how surprised) they were to take a point. Fair play to them for hanging in there, I guess. It’s a home game against Magpies next weekend and it’s fair to say we will be raring to get the floodgates open. It will rain goals for the Ladies 2s before too long so feel free to join our merry band of supporters to cheer us on at 3pm next Saturday afternoon.

DOD - Charlotte (I’m not sure how I avoided this, but thanks to Char for whatever she did to win it?!)

POM - Lottie for an another assured performance in the backline, super calm, tough in defence and possibly didn’t lose the ball once in the entire game.

Goals: Hannah Denison & Meg Dowthwaite