Thame Girls suffer lack of numbers
Spirited performance for unlucky U14’s
Today Thame U14 Girls marked the occasion of their first home game with a massively entertaining feast of football against a Winslow side that always give us as good as they get.
Hampered by lack of substitutes, we had to make tactical changes to give players a rest on the field by switching them around. Obviously this was far from ideal and made the game to and fro much more than I would have liked. That said, we started brightly with Hollie, Aimee, Amelia and Adele making sure that the blue and yellow kitted team were pinned in their own half for the first 10 minutes or so. By a combination of good goalkeeping, last ditch defending and sheer bad luck, we were denied the ultimate reward for our efforts. Then came the sucker punch of Winslow scoring from their very first attack. The direct through ball caused panic in defence and their excellent striker slotted the ball past the despairing efforts of new goalkeeper Emily. 0-1
Thankfully our girls were in no mood to give up easily and we responded well, scoring within a few minutes. This was no mean feat, as Winslow came to play with 4 at the back and sat deep. Nonetheless we made the most of the extra midfielder and the ball was played out to Hollie, who benefited from some excellent support play by Aimee and Amelia, who distracted both keeper and defenders by making far post runs and creating a tiny gap at the near... it’s all that was needed. 1-1
We continued to press high and with energy, again paying dividends quickly with The effervescent Amelia making the most of the panic caused in the opposition box and bursting through to side foot past an out-rushing keeper. 2-1 and looking good.... sadly it wasn’t to last, the lack of substitutions cost us dearly in the last 7 or 8 minutes of the half and the Winslow midfield were unleashed as they went to 3 at the back and gained more space going forward. It was their turn to take the lead with two quick goals born of defensive confusion. 2-3 at the break.
The second half was a far more cagey affair, with Winslow returning to a back four and our tiring attackers, staying at 2-3 until three quarters of the game had elapsed. Again we were caught on the counter attack by their in-form striker, who again slotted past Emily to make it 2-4. At this point it seemed as though our grip and territorial parity were fast disappearing, with Winslow looking energised and more comfortable. This year though, in the red of Thame, we are more resilient than that. Amy Cordell, Leah and Tierney (in for the absent Victoria) dug in, showing steel and commitment in not allowing the away team to further breach our ranks, with Emily making some important stops at times too. Winslow did hit our crossbar late on, but Emily had it covered and had the shot been lower, she would have saved it.
Again tactical rotations on the pitch made differences, added to our changing formation to just two in defence. We pressed as hard as we could and again pinned Winslow back, Amelia held her line well and headed in after a goalmouth scramble, only for the linesman to confuse her with Honor, who was in an offside position, thus ruling the goal out. The motivation was still there and 4 minutes from the end Hollie again scored an excellent early strike from the edge of the area to take her tally to 8 in two games. 3-4 and Game on for the closing moments. We continued pressing til the very end and were very unlucky not to get anything from the fixture.
I am extremely proud of the whole team for putting such effort in and listening to every word blurted out by myself from the far touchline. Had we been able to use equal numbers, I am sure that we would have gained far more from it.
From a neutral perspective, it must have been great to watch, with two well matched teams showing amazing commitment to gain the win. I must congratulate Winslow on their victory and wish them well until we meet again.
Emily Chapelle (gk)
Leah Mitchell (captain)