Good Fortune Evades Brave Short-Handed K's
Injuries and other absences meant that, for the first time this season, we couldn’t name 11 players on the team sheet. The biggest blow was when Georgi Wickham was ruled out on Friday for a few weeks with a fractured ankle incurred at university training. The 10 players we did have included Charlotte Willis-Sloanes back from university for the weekend and Patrycja Panok making her debut after a patient wait for international clearance.
13 minutes in, and, somewhat against the run of play, we allowed a South London Laces’ player too much room just outside our penalty area, and with the wind behind her, she hit a high dipping shot that gave Lily Dusting in goal no chance at all. 1-0. After half an hour, things got even worse with Charlotte Willis-Sloanes forced to leave the pitch with an injury. And so we were down to 9!! However, if you hadn’t counted, you wouldn’t really have guessed we were two players down. If anything, we were having more of the possession and were playing the game more in the South London Laces’ half. At half-time, despite being a goal down we were feeling satisfied with our performance.
The second half continued in a similar vein 9 v 11, but, after 60 minutes, a strong Laces’ header from a corner found its way into our goal to double their advantage. 2-0. Even after this, heads didn’t drop and we were definitely giving as good as we were getting. In goal Lily, there for the first time, was having a great game. In front of her, our defence of Zoe McLaughlin, Danni Bourne and captain Lucy Potter were in outstanding form. In the middle of midfield, Lace Edgcombe was putting in a great shift breaking up the South London Laces’ attacks and foraging forward, not least with her trademark long-throws. Player of the match today however was Mairead Hallidaywho was involved in absolutely everything, winning the ball, running at South London Laces and spraying the ball around with purpose. This really was a special performance by Mairead. Sarah Sinkins came strongly in to the game in the second half setting up several attacks, while Sophia Demetriou and Patti Panok, despite being outnumbered, worked really hard up front to close the South London Laces’ defence down and try to create some chances.
Our intrepid 9 did indeed exert some sustained pressure on the opposition defence as the half wore on, with a series of dangerous free-kicks and corners, but to no avail. However, finally in the 88th minute we did get the goal our endeavours deserved, when the ball was crossed in from the right and Sophia Demetriou hit a dipping shot over the goalkeeper’s head. 2-1. We didn’t have the time after that to mount any more meaningful attacks and the referee blew time on a heroic team effort. FT 2-1.
Despite the result, this was a performance to be proud of. Form has definitely improved in the last two weeks and if we keep working hard our luck will definitely turn.
Team: Lily Dusting, Zoe McLaughlin, Danni Bourne, Lucy Potter(c), Charlotte Willis-Sloanes, Mairead Halliday, Lace Edgcombe, Sarah Sinkins, Patti Panok, Sophia Demetriou
Goal scorer: Sophia Demetriou
Player of the match: Mairead Halliday (pictured)