Ladies 6s 1 - 0 Tulse Hill & Dulwich 3s (A)
By Val Beveridge
Saturday 1st October
So the trek across South West London is often challenging enough without the SW trains rail strike adding to the ball ache that is the South Circular.
But it gave our new squad the perfect opportunity to engage in vital team bonding while car sharing.
By the time we’d rocked up to Dulwich we’d sorted everything from relationship dilemmas to which banging tunes to add to the warm-up playlist. As a lady of a certain age I felt quite redundant to the discussions once I’d chipped in with, “anything by ABBA”.
Despite the myriad of new faces Captain Jen united us all with a motivational, optimistic, rousing and thankfully simple team talk. This meant we hit the turf hard and fast and dominated early play. Culminating in an early contender for goal of the season as Sophie received a pass, drilled into the top D and with Spiderman like reflexes, turned and shot all in one seamless move to score a worldie.
Sinead tolerated someone else shouting in her D with Marlijn providing positive vibes in stereo. Clearly having the desired effect both Alex and Millie were confidently sweeping up all threats and driving up the sideline to feed our mids and forwards.
Sammy was very light on her feet through the centre of defence though it may have been due to her shinguards containing several litres of someone else’s sweat and her trying to avoid contact.
A completely fresh looking midfield line meant we had Rosie and Ffion posting up beautifully in the CM role with tireless support on the wings from defender Maddie and forward Jade. L6s clearly adapting and evolving to deal with evaporating midfielders (working, playing L5s, boozing in Vegas!!!).
The front line of Val, Neve, Jen and Sophie all brought something different to the role. Neve used her phenomenal pace and skills to drive past bewildered oppo and Val was creating spaces (i.e. running away) and pressurising the defence. Sophie displayed great timing to poach balls off unsuspecting opponents and Jen, clearly feeling the strain of trying to keep us all in check, took a few chances to sit down on the pitch, including in the goal mouth.
Our pace and intensity dropped off a bit towards the end resulting in a slightly nervy finish, that could have been 2-0 had the umpires appreciated that a defender stopping the ball on the line with her face is probably a penalty stroke. Thankfully the player was ok.
Lots of positives: Unanimous MOM for Maddie; three points in the bag; Alex’s ankle isn’t broken; MJD’s cakes; great work rate from all and happy smiling faces on the equally long trek back home.