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Girls U14 Eagles 4 - 1 Hampstead & Westminster GU14 (A)

6th December 2023

By Mark Rogers

There was a feverish atmosphere at the Mallinson Stadium as the Eagles faced Hampstead & Westminster for a place in the National Supra League. Dressed in regimental military green, sticks held like bayonets, the Eagles lined up in their favoured 4-3-3 formation. Hampstead, ice cold in white and blue, stared them down like the All Blacks in a world cup final as the whistle approached.  

Deep in concentration and expecting the usual shrill “Peep!”, the Eagles were ill-prepared for the Umpire’s cry of “It’s time for Rock ’n’ Roll!” as he started the match. Wrong-footed, they succumbed to a well-rehearsed Hampstead goal: a four move checkmate.  

Shell-shocked, it wasn’t looking good for the Eagles as they faced wave after wave of organised Hampstead attack. But the wall of steel of Nancy, Bella, Emily and Elsa held firm, repelling athletic and determined opponents.  

Eventually the shield was breached. Step forward goalkeeper Lexi, the Dark Destroyer: a menacing Marvel superhero in her black and red away kit, defending the goal as if the fate of the universe depended on it. First an extraordinary right-footed splits save, next an outstanding move from a taekwondo match, and third a two footed tackle that would earn a red card in lesser sports.  

The near-capacity crowd went quiet as the bodies piled up in the Eagles’ D. Shattering the silence, Elsa burst free from the carnage, rocketing the ball up to EGS. Quick fire passing followed as the orange ball shot up the pitch: EGS to Freya, to Tileena, to Natalia, and then to Leyli. Hampstead, their own goalkeeper outstanding, recovered just in time, but the Eagles seized the chance to get their talons into the match.  

The equaliser came from a well-worked penalty corner. Adopting the equivalent of a Kings Gambit opening, the Eagles pushed the pieces until Hampstead ran out of moves, and Romaine calmly slotted the ball home.  

The second half was more of the same: two evenly matched teams giving their all, passing hard and running end-to-end. The pitch resembled a pinball machine. Captain Natalia broke the deadlock with a moment of individual brilliance. Latching on to Saskia’s inch-perfect pass, she shimmied across the top of the D, right to left, before unleashing a furious reverse hit into the roof of the net.  

Any expectation that the goal would calm the teams was misplaced. Eventually, Coach Alex’s tactics paid off and the sublime interplay between Erin and Izzy broke the North London team’s hearts with Izzy taking the third goal. It was tough on Hampstead but as Romaine secured her brace in the final minutes, the fans could finally relax and the Eagles flew into the Supra League with a famous 4-1 win.