Ladies escape from Wormwood Scrubs with win
K's defeat Premier Division Regent's Park Rangers in their first friendly of the season.
We kicked off our season today with a friendly against Premier League opposition - Regents Park Rangers - on Wormwood Scrubs. The sight of Grenfell Tower in the distance was a sobering reminder of the tragic events of only a few weeks ago, but the ladies were determined to acquit themselves well in the first match of our 2017-18 season.
Our squad included three debutantes - Eve McBrinn, Zoe McLaughlin and Shula Norman and it was wonderful to welcome back Georgia Lacey from injury after a year and a half out of action.
On a generously grassed pitch, we started brightly and after 10 minutes Sophia Demetriou rounded the keeper to put us ahead. 1-0. Only five minutes later however a long ball from Regents Park Rangers evaded our defence and a well drilled shot brought the scores level. 1-1. Back we went on the attack, and with 20 minutes on the clock we were back in front when Laura Timmins slid the ball home from close range for her first goal for Ks. 2-1.
The scores remained like that until five minutes into the second half when, with Ks clearly in the ascendancy, Sarah Sinkins curled the ball home from just inside the penalty area. 3-1. Only five minutes later it was 4-1 when Sophia Demetriou expertly turned in a low cross.
Regents Park Rangers still looked menacing on the break after this, and with an hour gone it was 4-2 when we failed to clear our lines and a striker pounced on a rebound to ram the ball home.
The three goal margin our play merited was restored on 70 minutes when Carolina Bottarini-Boltz curled in a beautiful left foot free-kick which was diverted home by Shula Norman (a film of it will be on the Kingstonian Ladies Facebook page shortly). 5-2.
The final period of the game passed relatively uneventfully with Ks remaining the more likely of the two teams. FT 5-2
This was a really encouraging start against a team a division higher than us, and with several new faces still learning each others' styles of play. Annie Jenkins stepped in to do a turn in goal and she put in a near flawless performance. Eve McBrinn played in an unfamiliar position for her in the centre of our defence and had an excellent game alongside a very good debut from Zoe McLaughlin and strong performances from our two full-backs Georgi Wickham and captain Lucy Potter. In central midfield, Mairead Halliday bossed the game throughout supported variously by Carolina Bottarini-Boltz, Charlotte Willis-Sloanes and Georgia Lacey. Laura Timmins resisted the temptation to pick the ball up (Gaelic football style) and put in a really excellent shift in both midfield and attack, while Sarah Sinkins played one of her best ever games for us, pulling the strings in the hole behind the strikers. Up front Sophia Demetriou looked very lively throughout, as did Shula Norman who gave the Regents Park defence a torrid time.
A special thank you goes to Ceri John who offered to provide us with goalkeeping cover today, but in the end was nabbed to play for Balham Panthers on the pitch adjacent to ours, helping them to a 3-2 victory with some excellent goalkeeping. Well done Ceri.
Team: Annie Jenkins, Georgina Wickham, Eve McBrinn, Zoe McLaughlin, Lucy Potter(c), Charlotte Willis-Sloanes, Mairead Halliday, Carolina Bottarini-Boltz, Sarah Sinkins, Sophia Demetriou, Shula Norman
Subs: Laura Timmins, Georgia Lacey
Goalscorers: Sophia Demetriou (2), Laura Timmins, Sarah Sinkins, Shula Norman
Player of the match: Sarah Sinkins (pictured)