Teddington Athletic U14 Girls v. Richmond Park FC
3 - 3
Teddington Athletic U14 Girls brought their 2017/2018 league campaign to a conclusion today against local rivals Richmond Park FC. Despite only 1.5km separating their two grounds it wasn't expected to be a close game in terms of goals. Richmond have dominated the Division 1 standings, winning every game in the league during their 15 game run. Despite the odds being stacked against them Teddington produced a performance full of desire and intent. A 3-3 draw was a fitting achievement for Teddington, who have improved throughout the season and deserved to bow out on a high.
Teddington Athletic bucked recent trends by pressing forward from the first blow of the whistle. Their positivity gave the front two chances immediately. Sophia scythed into the Richmond box on one of her legendary runs while Emily was just as belligerent, firing off a warning shot across the Richmond bows. Their opponents were no pushovers, reminding Teddington with a series of chances that rattled posts and tested an ever vigilant Jess in goal. Teddington's throw-ins were a surprisingly effective weapon, and both Harriet and Emma were the deadliest exponents. Harriet was everywhere in the first half, not only did she loosen off a shot but she put in a number of crunching tackles, keeping the Richmond right side under wraps. Teddington's midfield had an inspirational game, supporting one another in both attack and defence. Megan and Emma were ferocious in the middle, it was the former who epitomised the Teddington ethos, pushing forward purposefully whenever the team got the chance.
Creatively Teddington were at their best. Issy and Matilda played some neat football on the right resulting in a shot from Emily. Lauren did the same on the left, switching from defence to attack when required. Despite Teddington's possession it was Richmond who scored first. GOAL! 0-1. The fresh legs of Kitty and Willow immediately made a difference, combining in a flowing move that gave Emily the chance to level the score. GOAL! 1-1. Suddenly Willow was everywhere, both brain and brawn making her a formidable opponent. Kate shepherded Teddington toward the break, a rock in central defence.
The second half exploded into action within minutes of the restart. A flying tackle by Megan put Teddington on the front foot. Clever interplays between Neave and Catia created an opportunity for Emily. Showing her strength she shrugged off two Richmond defenders before burying her shot in the net. GOAL 2-1. Emma was a lynchpin in centre midfield, her throw-ins a constant threat. Willow took advantage of one when she cracked a sweet volley beyond the Richmond keepers' reach. GOAL. 3-1. You don't get to the top of the league with a 100% win ratio without being resilient and Richmond poured forward, stung into action. Even the most ardent Teddington supporter could appreciate Richmond's play during this period. Two goals in quick succession levelled the score at 3-3!
At the start of the season Teddington might well have been overwhelmed at this point but not now. The last 15 minutes of the match was a nail biting affair with high emotions on the touchline as well as the pitch. Lydia and Kate showed why they are so valued at TAFC. Despite wave upon wave of attacks besieging the Teddington defence they held firm. Often they were flung to the ground but Richmond couldn't break their spirit. In the dying minutes both teams had chances to win the game. Jess bravely ending in a tangle with Lydia but came up with the ball in hand. It wasn't all backs to the wall. Kitty's tireless forward forays gave Teddington an invaluable release from the constant bruising attacks of Richmond. Both her and Catia worked hard to give Teddington the chance of a winning goal but fairy tale endings will have to wait for another season. The final lines of this story belong to the Teddington Athletic U14 Girls. A team to be proud of.
Thank you to Demetrios and Keith for managing the side. To the referee and linesmen (especially Jon). Good luck to Richmond Park in their final two games. Congratulations to Harriet on being our Player of the Match.
TAFC team - Sophia, Emily, Lauren, Emma, Megan, Matilda, Harriet, Kate, Lydia, Issy, Jess, Willow, Neave, Kitty, Catia
Goals - Emily (2), Willow (1)
Player of the Match - Harriet (Chosen by Tracey)
Shots - Teddington 13 - 22 Richmond
Shots on target - Teddington 8 - 15 Richmond