Rejuvenated U15 Girls Shine in Halliford Win

TAFC U15 Girls v. Halliford Colts Girls FC

2 - 0

With the season nearing its conclusion Teddington Athletic recorded another impressive win today in the Girls U15 Division 1 league. The positive result sees TAFC maintain their 3rd place and leaves them in good heart as they head into their final 3 games.

With both sides fielding nine players it was an open game that was played at a fast fluid pace in the spring Udney Park sunshine. In recent weeks Halliford have presented Teddington with a tough contest and today they came out fighting once again. Although Catia had an early chance in front of goal it was Halliford who had the clearest opportunity to score first. Their striker burst through Teddington's defence but the presence of the onrushing Jess unsettled her as she shot high. Teddington's goalkeeper was rarely on her line, and she spent much of the match scooping up forward passes just behind the impressive back three of Megan, Harriet and Lydia. It was a sprightly first half from Catia who swaggered forward on a series of attacking skirmishes but couldn't quite get the goal that would have invariably settled Teddington's nerves.

The pendulum swung from side to side, Halliford besieged Teddington's penalty box with 3 corners in a row before a free kick from Teddington hit the post at the other end. Slowly Teddington's midfield began to assert themselves, Emma had been absent from recent matches and she returned rejuvenated. She dazzled in midfield alongside Kate who played both the roles of beauty and the beast as she combined creativity and crunching tackles. Teddington's strikers, Emily and Kitty, have a high level of fitness and this helped them as the 9-a-side teams began to tire in the sunshine. A passing move that originated from Megan, linked to Catia and presented Kitty with a fabulous opportunity that was only denied a goal by a brilliant save from the Halliford keeper. The goalie couldn't do anything about the penalty that Emily won after she was bundled over in the Halliford area. Emma coolly slotted the spot kick past the keeper's right hand to give Teddington the lead at halftime.

Within minutes of the second half restarting Emma was reasserting Teddington's creative dominance in midfield. Her pass bisected the Halliford defence and found a marauding Emily in an uncompromising mood. The powerful striker shrugged off several strong tackles to score a magnificent goal and secure the points for her team. The rest of the match was entertaining but lacked the cut and thrust of the early exchanges. Lydia manoeuvred the white shirted Halliford attackers like a shepherd with a flock of sheep while Harriet's corners were a constant threat in attack.

Megan was released from defensive duties and her elegant passing football worked in Catia's favour on the right side. There were goal scoring chances but a mixture of good Halliford goalkeeping and a threadbare Udney Park pitch meant there were no more goals. It wasn't all one-way traffic as Halliford's statuesque forward charged toward goal with only Jess in her way. Teddington's keeper threw herself forward and bravely plucked the ball from the striker's toes. Even though it was a bruising match for Kitty she kept running until the final whistle and it was with some satisfaction that Teddington celebrated as the referee signalled the end of the match.

Thank you to the referee for a well marshalled game, to Demetrios for managing the girls and to Daragh our linesman for the day.

TAFC Team: Kate, Harriet, Lydia, Jess, Emily, Kitty, Emma, Megan, Catia
Goals: Emma, Emily
Player of the match: Emma (Chosen by Alban)
Shots total: TAFC 33 - 11 Halliford
Shots on target: TAFC 20 - 8 Halliford

Lucky 13 for Teddington U15 Girls

TAFC U15 Girls v. Rushmoor Community FC

13 - 0

Teddington Athletic U15 Girls were at their most ruthless today against a spirited Rushmoor Community FC. The 13-0 scoreline only tells half the story as it was a bright match that both teams played in a competitive spirit. With 10 players on each side it was an entertaining game with slick passing football and plenty of goalmouth action.

Unlike last week Teddington started at a galloping pace, they swept forward in the opening minute threatening the Rushmoor goal. Lauren, Kitty and Emily combined with Willow who popped up in the six yard box, finishing off a fluid move with a deft tap-in (1-0). It was an eerie atmosphere at Udney Park as the people of Teddington had vacated town for the Easter school holidays. Those that had stuck around must have heard the loud cheer as Harriet buried a free kick in the top corner of the Rushmoor goal (2-0). Lauren was enjoying herself on the left hand side, this was a standout game for the likeable winger. She was at her creative best for the third goal as she linked up with Kitty. Teddington's impressive blonde sharpshooter was on top form, slotting the ball past the Rushmoor keeper (3-0). All of Teddington's shots were on target in the opening 10 minutes with none sliding wide of the mark. Lauren was the architect of another goal as her cross found Emily in the centre (4-0). It was a clinical display from Teddington that fused both strength and skill in a potent mix.

Rushmoor are a positive and improving side so it wasn't long before they took the match back to Teddington. Despite pressing forward they were undone by a wonderful solo goal from a rampaging Kitty (5-0). Rushmoor's keeper had an inspired match yet again but with Easter eggs on the mind Willow gave us a lesson in the goal poacher's art. She was deadly in the box, first connecting with an Emily cross (6-0) before completing her hat-trick with a tap-in just inches from the goal line (7-0). Kate enjoyed the first half too, winning her usual robust tackles but also dribbling through the Rushmoor defensive lines. Kitty and Emily finished off the second half by providing each other with goal scoring opportunities. First Kitty secured a well deserved hat-trick (8-0) and then Emily showed great composure in front of goal and bagged her brace (9-0).

The second half was a curious affair but just as enjoyable as the first. Jess graduated from an underutilised keeper to an overactive striker. Lydia and Neave were now the attacking wingers, Harriet a central midfielder, while Lauren and Emily joined Issy in defence. As the senior partner Issy became Teddington's defensive general, she marshalled her troops well despite coming under pressure from a rejuvenated Rushmoor. Kate who was now in goal had one save to make in the second half, and it was a magnificent one, denying Rushmoor what looked like a certain goal. The next 20 minutes wasn't a spectacle of beautiful football as Teddington tried to adjust to their new positions. One player who hadn't lost the scoring touch from the first half was Willow who gobbled up a rebound (10-0) after Rushmoor's keeper parried a shot from Emily onto the crossbar.

The final 15 minutes were a celebration of sororal togetherness. Sisterly love won the day as Willow's dazzling feet provided a perfectly weighted pass to Neave in the penalty area. Now Neave is established as Teddington's left-back of choice she doesn't get many chances to score. So she made sure of the goal by cleverly slotting the ball under the keeper (11-0). No one in the team works harder or runs more yards in a game than Lydia and it was fitting that she scored (12-0) after connecting with an excellent cross from Harriet. As the final minutes ticked away it looked unlikely that Jess was going to score her first ever TAFC goal but sometimes dreams do come true. Another fine Rushmoor save from a Willow shot rebounded to Teddington's keeper-cum-striker and Jess notched a thirteenth goal for the team.

Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, to Daragh, Richard and Simon for being our linesmen. Thank you to the referee.

TAFC Team: Kate, Harriet, Lydia, Issy, Jess, Emily, Kitty, Lauren, Willow, Neave
Goals: Willow (x4), Kitty (x3), Emily (x2), Neave (x1), Lydia (x1), Jess (x1)
Player of the match: Willow (Chosen by Simon)
Shots total: TAFC 45 - 7 Rushmoor
Shots on target: TAFC 27 - 2 Rushmoor



Demi’s Dames Defeat Halliford Colts

Halliford Colts FC v. Teddington Athletic U15 Girls

1 - 3

Teddington Athletic U15 Girls were back in the winning groove at Halliford today with a fighting performance that was all about teamwork and resilience. The team were down to just 11 players so everyone played their part in a welcome victory after a tough match on the road last week.

Teddington were put under immense pressure when they faced Halliford at the Matthew Arnold School fields just two weeks ago. The battle on that occasion was won and lost in midfield so TAFC manager Demetrios knew he had to make tactical changes to combat Halliford's robust style. It was a masterstroke, the defence was whittled down to Lydia, Issy and Harriet while the midfield grew to 5 strong (Megan, Kitty, Kate, Catia and Matilda). Teddington didn't match brawn with brawn but choose to pack midfield with skilful and nimble players. Despite playing in nearly every position on the pitch this season Megan is more than a utility player, today in central midfield she showed her class and was a worthy Player-of-the-Match recipient.

Teddington were sluggish in the opening 10 minutes of the match, with the clocks springing forward the lost hour in bed had affected them all. Halliford took advantage and pressed for an early goal, and they got one. A speculative cross/shot dipping just under the bar (1-0). Teddington's three girls defence didn't quite know how to contain Halliford's forthright football and Demetrios' plan looked a flawed one. But the Teddington girls are all bright sparks and they adapted quickly to the new system. It was a joy to see Sophia get a good run in the side and she carved out the first chance for Teddington with a cross that found Catia in the penalty. Her shot didn't bring Teddington level on this occasion but a few minutes later the midfield crackerjack smashed a dipping shot into the net (1-1).

Catia, Emily and Sophia had a scintillating first half, ably assisted by Kitty's tireless work winning both corners and free-kicks. Without Emma to take the long throws Teddington used Issy, Kate and Harriet as their attacking force. It was Kate who dissected the Halliford defence with one such throw. The ball finding Emily who threaded a powerful shot through a gaggle of defenders and scoring in style (1-2). Teddington had a calmness about then today, and in part this was because Emily had returned to the team. Matilda benefitted from having teammates in close attendance, including Emily, Kate and Kitty. Regularly she beat not one but two opponents with her skill but was then able to use this advantage by passing to the girls around her.

With Megan beside her Kate was unshackled from some of her defence duties in midfield and we saw a different side to Teddington's warrior princess. These two worked well in tandem during the second half, an early Kate shot was followed by a beautiful forward ball from Megan. It connected with Emily who was pushed far to the left by a Halliford defender. Dismiss Emily at your peril, she can turn an impossible position into a goal scoring chance and she did just that with a pinpoint shot sneaking between the keeper and the near post (1-3). Halliford were stung into action and what ensued was a masterclass from Harriet, Issy and Lydia. Issy ushered Halliford harmlessly to the touchline, Harriet cleared away the danger on numerous occasions but it was Lydia who stood out. Halliford possess players of speed as well as physical presence but none got the better of Lydia today. Jess was quick to the come off her line, and she in some part was the fourth player in defence. As Halliford threatened to come back into the match she produced a diving save to her right, pushing the ball to safety.

Congratulations to all the team today and to Demetrios for his tactical insight. It was a total team performance.

Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, to Daragh for being our linesman and to the referee. A special mention must got to Jon for his Mother's Day gifts and to the Mum's who forsook their lie-in (Nikki, Lori, Anne and Tracey).

TAFC Team: Sophia, Kate, Matilda, Megan, Harriet, Lydia, Issy, Jess, Emily, Kitty, Catia
Goals: Emily (x2), Catia (x1)
Player of the match: Megan (Chosen by Demetrios)
Shots total: Halliford 18 - 20 TAFC
Shots on target: Halliford 9 - 10 TAFC

Slim Pickings in Spring Sun for U15 Girls

Woking Cougars v. TAFC U15 Girls

2 - 0

A weakened but spirited Teddington U15 Girls couldn't repeat the heroics of last week and slid to a 2-0 defeat away to Woking Cougars today. The home side were the stronger team and Teddington found it hard going without several key players.

Teddington had the better of the opening exchanges in the first half, they held onto possession and had an array of forward excursions. Like eager pups they followed the bouncing ball, lolloping into tackles, chasing the game with carefree abandon in the spring sunshine. Despite the odd midfield clash (Kitty was on the floor within the first 30 seconds) there was plenty of space and time to play good creative football. Teddington's left side were thriving under these conditions, Lauren enjoyed the extra time to take a touch before connecting with Megan and Kate in centre midfield. Neave also blossomed in the warm conditions, she was at her best early on, Teddington's very own left bank was a hotbed of artistic creativity and flair. On several occasions Teddington swarmed into the Woking box but they lacked that killer instinct. Although Kitty, Megan and Matilda's nimble footwork dazzled and sparkled Teddington were restricted to one shot on target during the first half.

Woking grew in confidence and it was only a concerted effort from Lydia, Harriet, Neave and Issy that kept the score to a single goal from the home team. Lydia covered so much ground you'd have thought she was in training for a marathon distance. However hard Teddington tried they just couldn't translate their skill and passion into clear chances on goal, the joie de vivre of the opening twenty minutes evaporated in the warming spring sun. That passion was clear to see as Tenpin Kitty raced through on goal, rattling the Woking keeper off her feet, reminiscent of a bowling ball thundering a strike.

Teddington started the second half brightly, Willow exchanged clever little passes with the girls around her. Catia also found her feet and was able to create tight passing moves in the centre. Matilda's footloose fancies were now the creative spark that sent Kitty further forward but it was Willow who tested the Woking keeper with a rasping shot from outside the box. Now manager Demetrios made a tactical change that made all the difference, Lydia moved into midfield which released Kate to push further forward. All of a sudden a positivity pulsed through Teddington, Kate is a born a leader, a totemic Joan of Arc that could inspire not only a football team but a nation given half the chance. Unfortunately heroes and heroines (like the singed Miss Arc) aren't always on the winning side.

Like a sword through the heart, a superb Woking cross sliced through the Teddington defence. The Woking striker pierced the swelling Teddington confidence and a goal killed off the game. Woking pressed relentlessly, their corner-count was well into double figures. Jess was as agile and brave as ever, a number of times she repelled Woking on their bullish onward march. A short range cracker was first parried and then smothered by Teddington's nimble keeper. Teddington kept fighting right until the last seconds, Catia tested the Woking goalie with a fierce shot but it just wasn't going to be their day.

Congratulations to Woking. Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, to Keith for being our linesman, and to the referee. It is hard to find the words to praise a defence that has lost a game but Teddington's back line of Issy, Lydia, Neave and Harriet (and Megan) put in a mammoth effort today. Thank you.

TAFC Team: Neave, Willow, Kate, Matilda, Megan, Harriet, Lydia, Issy, Jess, Lauren, Catia, Kitty
Player of the match: Neave (Chosen by Richard)
Shots total: Woking 21 - 9 TAFC
Shots on target: Halliford 13 - 3 TAFC

U15 Girls Fight Back with Thunderbolt Winner

Halliford Colts v. TAFC U15 Girls

2 - 3

It was a weekend of comebacks as the Six Nations rugby reached its conclusion and the FA Cup and Premiership football competitions threw up a number of see-saw matches. Not to be outdone Teddington Athletic Under 15 Girls battled to a memorable win after being behind in the match against Halliford not once but twice. Halliford Colts are a team of steel and Teddington needed both the strength of body and spirit to beat their opponents.

With the wind in their favour Halliford dominated the first half but it was also their physicality that regularly blew Teddington apart in the defence. Without their usual strike partnership Teddington looked tentative in the opening 15 minutes, they dithered when the balls bounced in midfield and were caught out a number of times in defence. It was a nervousness born from unfamiliarity not from a lack of skill or desire. It was rare for the ball to escape into the Halliford half but when it did Sophia was in determined mood. After hitting the bar with a savagely hit shot Halliford eventually made Teddington pay with a goal that weaved through 3 or 4 players before hitting the net (1-0). It could have been much worse as Halliford had several well taken corners that were scooped away by the defence.

Abi came off the subs bench and she was to play a pivotal role in this match. Teddington needed its very own enforcer in midfield, she was ruthless when needed and selfless with her passing if the team had attacking opportunities. This wasn't Teddington's only creative outlet, there was some delightful interplay between Matilda, Sophia, Megan and Willow. Despite Teddington gaining a foothold in the match it was Halliford that had 2 or 3 excellent chances to stretch ahead. Jess stood in their way. She pulled off a series of brave and athletic saves including one that bounced off an outstretched leg, rebounded against the crossbar and pinged out to safety. It revived Teddington, Emma moved into an attacking role and Kate started to play the ball out of defence. One such Kate foray found Willow on the wing, who whipped in a breathtaking cross, leaving Sophia to slot past the Halliford goalie (1-1). Willow was a golden performer today, nuggety in the tackle and glittering in attack. Her dazzling green boots blessed it seemed by the spirit of St Patrick.

As half-time neared Teddington were unlucky to go behind once again, a Jess save was unfortunately returned by a well placed Halliford boot (1-2). Teddington had the best of the second half, they were now winning the 50/50 balls in midfield, and pressing for an equaliser. Matilda's dexterity unlocked the Halliford defence on numerous occasions and within minutes of the restart she had hit the Halliford crossbar. Despite being in the ascendancy Teddington couldn't convert possession into clear chances. All credit to Halliford who were dogged and determined. They created chances by trying to bulldoze through Teddington's central defence. This resulted in a quieter game for wing-backs Issy and Neave but never underestimate their influence on this team. Issy's long throw on the right found Megan, whose pinpoint cross fizzed into Emma in the centre and a second Teddington goal was never in doubt (2-2). Neave knew the dangers right after a goal, you could see her lunge into tackle after tackle, desperate to stop Halliford at all costs.

Harriet and Lydia had a much more comfortable second half, the jitters of the first 40 minutes forgotten. Lydia with her 'Speedy Gonzales' tackles and Harriet with those thunderous clearances. Teddington won the game in a moment of tenacity from Matilda and of divine mastery from Kate. First Matilda chased a lost ball, harrying her opposite number until she won the ball on the edge of the Halliford penalty box. Kate took advantage, lining up a shot and unleashing a thunderbolt that rocketed into the top corner of the Halliford goal (2-3). It was a goal worthy of winning a match and must rank as one of the best of the season.

Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, our able linesman Martin, and to the referee. A fantastic team performance from the girls. Thank you also to the supporters that came out today, it really does make a difference when you are so enthusiastic on the touchline.

TAFC Team: Neave, Sophia, Willow, Kate, Matilda, Megan, Harriet, Lydia, Emma, Issy, Jess, Abi
Goals: Sophia, Emma, Kate

Player of the match: Jess (Chosen by Anne)
Shots total: Halliford 18 - 21 TAFC
Shots on target: Halliford 12 - 11 TAFC

Unlucky U15 Girls blown away by Cobham

Cobham Village FC v. TAFC U15 Girls

2 - 0

A series of unfortunate events may well have inspired Lemony Snickets to the top of the book charts but for the Teddington U15 Girls it was their undoing today. Against a solid Cobham at the ACS International School any slip-up in form or fate was going to be punished by the home side. On a day when the wind was knocking over trees like dominoes it was Cobham who blew through Teddington with a 2-0 win.

Although the wind played a major factor in this match it didn't determine the winner. In the first half, with the wind behind them, Teddington had 11 shots on target but couldn't convert any into goals. In fact it was Cobham who scored against the run of play. While in the second half Cobham had 12 shots on target, converting one, while Teddington created 3 against the wind. Two injuries that worked against Teddington were most definitely unfortunate and very much affected the pattern of this game. The first was the finger injuries sustained by Jess the day before. This meant that Kate played the first half in goal, while Kitty took the second. Both did an excellent job but their presence was missed further forward. The second injury both poleaxed Emma and the Teddington team. A last ditch tackle during the first half curtailed a dangerous Cobham attack but also left Emma on the floor with a throbbing headache. She was sorely missed.

This game was a frustrating affair for the TAFC girls, not only did lady luck desert them but they had opportunities to draw and possibly win the game. Neave had a ferocious beginning to the match, she was nippy across the turf, strong in tackle, and on more than one occasion you could see her limping away from a clash. With Emma's early withdrawal there was a vacuum in the centre for Teddington. Lauren and Megan had difficulties in the high winds, the statuesque Cobham midfielders seem to get to the bouncing ball first. When they did get the ball on the floor they looked much more composed and decisive.

With her big kick and the wind behind her Harriet was able to turn defence into attack with a mere tap of her boot. In the first half she released both Kitty and Emily from the Cobham shackles, unfortunately the ball was swept wide by the wind or saved well by the keeper. Both Sophia and Willow played intelligent linking roles today, on several occasions they gave their strikers the chance to score, including Matilda who popped up on the right wing only for the ball to slip just wide. Take nothing away from Cobham, they played really well today, a number of corners pegged Teddington back toward the end of the first half. Kate made an excellent save from one, the rebound was chipped back in, the wind caught the ball and floated it just into the goal (1-0).

In the second half it was one-way traffic with Kitty's goalkeeping gloves stinging from 5 shots in the first 5 minutes. Matilda had an excellent second half, as the Cobham legs tired hers kept on running. With the wind in their faces the Teddington defence stood firm, the waves of Cobham attacks crashing against their bows. Nothing gets past Issy, what she doesn't kick away, she brushes away with her strong arm tactics. Lydia was scudding across the turf reducing Cobham to speculative shots from outside the box. Unfortunately it was one of these wind-assisted shots that doubled Cobham lead (2-0)

With the wind making life difficult Emily started her trademark solo runs from within her own half and they so nearly paid off. Teddington took the fight back to Cobham, we saw the first of Kung Fu Kate's flying interceptions. Although Teddington only had three clear chances in the second half, all of these could quite easily have provided the visitors with goals. First the Cobham keeper denied Emily what seemed like a certain goal, then Harriet hit the post directly from a corner, and finally Matilda's pass resulted in a sweetly hit shot from Emily that ricocheted off the crossbar. Each one of these could have easily gone in, it was just one of those games.

Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, to Rohan for being linesman and Orangeman. Thanks to the referee and good luck to Cobham in the rest of the season. Harriet seemed to be everywhere today and even managed a shot from the centre circle, she was awarded Player-of-the-Match by Daragh.

TAFC Team: Emily, Neave, Sophia, Willow, Lauren, Kate, Matilda, Megan, Kitty, Harriet, Lydia, Emma, Issy.
Player of the match: Harriet (Chosen by Daragh)
Shots total: Cobham 22 - 20 TAFC
Shots on target: Cobham 17 - 14 TAFC



U15 Girls On Cloud Nine

TAFC U15 Girls v. Rushmoor Community FC

9 - 0

Teddington Athletic U15 Girls got back to winning ways today against Rushmoor Community FC with a 9-0 victory at Udney Park Road. Recent performances had been of the battling variety rather been displays of champagne football but today Teddington put the fizz back into their game and came away worthy winners.

A day of dark clouds, chilling winds and driving rain could have diluted this encounter into a weak blend of up-and-under football but Teddington and Rushmoor produced an entertaining and bright game that was a credit to both teams. The wind was in Teddington's favour in the first half and they struggled to control the ball in the blowy conditions. Repeatedly the ball eluded Kitty and Emily up front, the mighty kicks from midfield zipping off the wet surface and going out for a Rushmoor goal kick. It was only when Teddington swapped ends did we see the delights of their passing game. The wind forced them to play the ball along the floor and we saw the best of some accurate passing from Matilda, Abi and Willow.

Teddington were under the guidance of manager Keith Middleton for this game and he employed a 3 girl defence. Kate was the lynchpin in the centre, strong in the tackle, and clever with her interceptions. Harriet on the left and Megan on the right were able to move into midfield when the inclination took them. All 3 had excellent games because Rushmoor Community have improved tremendously in their short history, they threatened the defence on a number of occasions although Jess wasn't really tested in goal.

There were 5 in midfield with Abi playing a pivotal role, she could be the inspiration for a new Marvel comic in the role of Iron Woman such is her strength. In the first half she was steely as a holding midfielder and switched to attack in the second half with some delightful creative play from the centre. Lauren stuck to her task well on the left, she enjoys these games where there is more room to take a touch and link up with teammates. Neave is more versatile than a swiss army knife. She is one of Teddington's most multifaceted players, mostly cleaning up those loose balls but also willing to chop in with a tackle or two. Matilda grew into the match, at first her tricks and flicks didn't quite pay off but soon she was dribbling around opponents and cutting dangerous crosses into the box from the wing. She scored Teddington's 8th goal after a jinking run that cut through the Rushmoor defence.

You could tell Willow was up for this game. In the opening minutes she executed a couple of tasty step-overs before testing the Rushmoor goalkeeper with a shot. A special mention must go to Rushmoor's keeper, she had an excellent game and the score could have well been in double figures by the end. Willow plugged away all match and got her just deserts in the final minutes when with a deft touch she scored a classy ninth goal for Teddington. Full of running as always Kitty was the ultimate team player. Today was no different and she also got on the scoresheet with a good solo run that ended with a strong shot that just dipped under the keeper's hands.

It was heartening to see Sophia get an extended run in the team today, she came off the bench in the first half and made an impact immediately. Her influence lasted throughout the match, her speed always a threat and she has a powerful shot that could slice a defence into pieces. It was the sheer force of her shot that burst through the Rushmoor keeper and up into the roof of the net.

It is easy to take Emily for granted even though she is a proven goal scorer who always delivers for Teddington. Today she most definitely deserves the plaudits, she produced a masterclass that was worthy of being Player of the Match. Her first goal settled Teddington down after a nervous start, the second was a penalty (won by the tenacious Kitty), the third was all about speed, she ran onto a long through ball from midfield and coolly finished. After starting in attack and playing in defence, she ended the game in midfield. It was from here that she scored her fourth and most impressive goal, a mazy run that ended with a shot from outside the box, and the inevitable rippling of the Rushmoor net.

Congratulations to all the girls on an excellent team performance. Thank you to Keith for managing, to Jon for running the line, and to the referee.

TAFC Team: Emily, Neave, Sophia, Jess, Willow, Lauren, Kate, Matilda, Megan, Kitty, Abi, Harriet
Goals: Emily (4), Sophia (1), Kitty (1), Matilda (1), Willow (1)
Player of the match: Emily (Chosen by Alban)
Shots total: TAFC 44 - 5 Rushmoor Community
Shots on target: TAFC 35 - 3 Rushmoor Community

Revenge for Rushmoor Saints against battling U15 Girls

TAFC U15 Girls v. Rushmoor Saints

2 - 4

The last time these two sides faced each other it was Teddington U15 Girls who blotted Rushmoor Saints 100% win record with a stunning victory. Rushmoor were eager to exact revenge and they dominated a bruising encounter in the February sunshine today. Their passing game was of a superior quality and you can see how they top the league with only those 3 points dropped. Although Teddington fought to the bitter end it was a comfortable win for Rushmoor.

The match started with a cagey 10 minutes period that gave neither team an advantage. Although there were few clear goal opportunities it was obvious that this was going to be physical battle played at a fast and furious pace. After coming back from injury we hadn't seen the best of Megan in recent matches but here she was brave in defence at right-back and decisive when pushing forward. Teddington's creativity flowed down this right side, Megan to Matilda, who in turn gave Kitty a series of chances. In the first bruising skirmishes Willow took an injury to the shoulder (?) and Catia bounded into the fray. Catia has a swagger to her playing style that perfectly suits a clash such as this. Rushmoor started to assert themselves and after five probing corners they found a way through the Teddington defence (0-1). Corners were their main weapon in the first half with Jess, Neave, Lydia, Kate and Megan constantly under attack. We saw a few of Kate's trademark Kung Fu clearances as Rushmoor's excellent swinging spot-kicks peppered the Teddington goalmouth.

Teddington pushed back up the pitch as Emma catapulted her long throw-ins toward the retreating Rushmoor, and when that didn't yield results she tried a number of corners. On more than one occasion the ball bounced through a crowd of players and squeezed out the other side. In the winter sunshine Sophia was a ray of shimmering light. Her bright darting runs were a flashing reminder of Teddington's threat in attack. Unfortunately Teddington didn't convert any of the chances they created and Rushmoor made them pay as the first half neared its conclusion. Their striker connected with a loose ball that bounced invitingly in the Teddington box (0-2).  It could have been worse but Jess pulled out a dexterous full length save to deny a third. While many of the players flagged in the unseasonal heat Lauren kept powering on throughout the first 40 minutes and beyond.

Teddington exploded into the second half, their positivity brought an early shot from Emily. A rejuvenated Willow danced through the towering Rushmoor midfield. A Catia shot won a corner, Kitty's tenacity won another, the pressure started to build. Eventually it paid off as Emma floated a beauty right into the danger area and Emily muscled the ball into the net (1-2). Stung by the goal Rushmoor laid siege to Teddington penalty box, corners swung in but Neave, Lydia, Megan and Kate were equal to the challenge. In fact it was a moment of individual brilliance that saw Rushmoor restore their two goal lead. A jinking run ending in a wonder strike that buried itself in the top corner (1-3). The Rushmoor strikers were ebullient and despite some leaping saves from Jess it was the opposition who scored again soon after (1-4).

As the winter heat tired the legs of the players you could be forgiven in thinking that the game would fizzle out. Yet Teddington have a tremendous resilience and they kept fighting until the last whistle. Emily epitomised this spirit with a skilful run that started at the halfway line and ended with the ball in the Rushmoor net (2-4). She is a class act, a player who never gives up and this wasn't the first time her strength has torn a defence apart (25 goals this season!). It's not all about goals either for Teddington, in the last minutes both Emily and Jess were knocked to the ground by opponents. Although shaken, both girls got to their feet and with heads held high they joined the Teddington ranks once again. All the girls can be proud of their contribution today, they played as a united team. Win or lose they stood together.

Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, to Rohan for being our linesman and to the referee.

TAFC Team: Emily, Catia, Emma, Neave, Lydia, Sophia, Jess, Willow, Lauren, Kate, Matilda, Megan, Kitty
Player of the match: Sophia (Chosen by Luke)
Shots total: TAFC 15 - 31 Rushmoor Saints
Shots on target: TAFC 9 - 21 Rushmoor Saints

U15 Girls in Udney Mud Draw

TAFC U15 Girls v. Woking Cougars

0 - 0

It wasn't only the glorious mud that cooled the blood down at Udney Park today. Teddington Athletic U15 Girls and Woking Cougars also had to contend with a whipping wind from the North that chilled the game into a cryonic 0-0 draw. Both Teddington Athletic and Woking Cougars tried their hardest to fire up this encounter, and both teams had chances to win, but the conditions really won this match on such a grey and wintery Sunday.

The game was largely played out in the centre of the pitch, the ball constantly ricocheted between the two teams with barely a clear chance for the strikers or keepers to gain notoriety. This isn't to say there wasn't noteworthy performances. Lauren opened the match on sparkling form, and we saw the best of her ability to play short passing football with Willow and Emily. Matilda's skill on the right wing was the brightest of sparks on this dull day, and she regularly beat her opposite player and pumped dangerous balls towards the strikers. Emily too was able to trouble the Woking defence, she fashioned the clearest of chances in the opening quarter with a cross that just evaded a leaping Willow in the six yard box.

Teddington were caught between the 'up and under' football typified by Neave and Harriet at the back, and a more scudding approach employed by Emma and Lydia. The wind nullified the high balls while the mud sucked the life out of the passes that skipped across the patchy grass. An energised Megan, Catia and Sophia came on with fresh legs and immediately they seemed to turn the game. Their dogged work helped Emily break through, but the ball just eluded her in the final strides. Quick-thinking Catia and Emma put Plan B into operation, their long shots tested the Woking keeper who had an excellent game. Teddington managed two shots on target in the first half while Woking weren't far away with four. It goes without saying that both defences had an excellent game.

With the wind in their favour in the second half Teddington restarted the match with new vigour. Kate bisected the Woking midfield but Catia's shot was saved, then Emily muscled her way into a fabulous scoring opportunity only for the Woking keeper to make a fingertip save down to her right. Kate had an absolutely epic second half. She could be seen regularly flying through the air like a Kung Fu master, her interceptions cutting out Woking passes in all corners of the pitch. Although the shot count is marginally in Woking's favour it was Teddington who had the clearest chances and more of the possession. It was largely a match for the toilers, Sophia and Megan epitomised this work ethic, running themselves into the sodden ground.

The contest was surprisingly open in the last quarter of the match with Woking regularly hitting Teddington on the break. Issy, the new titan of the defence, averted disaster by shouldering her opponents into the touchline. Lydia swooped in at the last minute, her pace the saviour. Harriet and Neave kept the Woking right side under wraps. Despite this Woking forged through the middle three times, and all three times Jess bravely slid head first into the danger zone. These vital saves not only kept Teddington in the match but with the wind behind her she was able to turn defence into attack with a mighty kick downfield. It was the home side who had the last chance, a gilt edged opportunity just two yards from goal that bobbled cruelly over a Teddington boot. Perhaps it was the pitch playing one last cruel trick on the players.

Thank you to the referee, to Demetrios, and to Rohan for being our linesman.

TAFC Team: Emily, Catia, Emma, Neave, Harriet, Lydia, Sophia, Issy, Jess, Willow, Lauren, Kate, Matilda, Megan
Player of the match: Matilda (Chosen by Tracey)
Shots total: TAFC 16 - 17 Woking
Shots on target: TAFC 11 - 12 Woking


Thrilling Draw for Under 15 Girls

TAFC U15 Girls v. Caterham Pumas

4 - 4

In one of the most nail-biting matches of the season Teddington Athletic Under 15 Girls took on highflying Caterham Pumas and came within a big cat's whisker of securing a memorable win. Caterham had convincingly beaten Teddington twice already this season, so for the girls to hold their opponents to a draw must be celebrated.

Last week's match against Rushmoor Community was a difficult match to draw conclusions from with players taking on unfamiliar roles. Today's contest was a true test and so it was a surprise to both sides that Teddington not only drew first blood but dominated a first half that was full of physical battles and decisive attacking intent. Teddington were utilising a series of forward balls that fell delightfully between the retreating Caterham back four and their keeper. They were the kind of passes that strikers like Emily and Kitty dream of. These lofted balls were not only supplied by the midfield quartet of Catia, Emma, Kate and Lauren but it seemed that Neave and Harriet were also keen to get in on the act. The opening goal came as Emily turned the defence and chased a ball toward the Caterham end. Winger Willow was there in support and bravely challenged the keeper. The ball somehow squeezed through and bobbled over the line (1-0). Caterham aren't used to going behind and immediately drew a double save from Jess' knee. They were stung into life but quickly swatted away by Harriet and Neave in defence.

The blustering wind benefited Teddington in the first half and complimented their up and under tactics. Emma was at her creative best, not only did she exploit the conditions but she took a large number of long throws and corners that pinned Caterham back into their half. Kitty was full of running and the side is always better for having her revving her engine at the opposition. She won and then converted a corner taken by Harriet. The six yard box was congested and it was hard to see the exact point of impact but you couldn't miss the net exploding with the force of Kitty's shot (2-0). She wasn't done there, Kate pumped a pass forward and Kitty skilfully slid the ball under the Caterham goalie's body (3-0). She could have had a hattrick but unfortunately her third goal was disallowed for offside. Caterham tried valiantly to fight back but again and again they came up against Issy at right back. She has grown in stature this season, and her name was heard more than any other from the crowd on the touchline.

With the wind in their favour Caterham were expected to blow Teddington apart in the second half. It was a prediction that Emily defiantly rejected as she latched onto a long throw from Issy. A largely solo effort was brilliantly finished as she dribbled past the Caterham defence and then danced around the keeper too (4-0). With four goals in the bank Teddington switched off and Caterham made them pay as a powerful driving shot rocketed over Jess (4-1). Caterham regained their purpose, Lauren and Catia had their hands full in midfield, Kate went on a series on mazy runs desperately battling against the wind. The defence was heroic with Lydia's speed saving Teddington on a number of occasions and Issy's towering presence a beacon of defiance. Caterham had four corners in a row and despite a rearguard effort from Harriet the ball kept coming back as though it were on a strip of elastic. Eventually a chance stuck, the wind filled the Caterham sails and they rode their confidence as though it were a crest of a wave (4-2).

With a quarter of the match remaining it felt like Caterham would not only draw but go onto win this match. Teddington showed tremendous resilience in this period. Kate won a number of 50/50 tackles in midfield, Emily marauded forward and had chances for more goals, Kitty never gave up. Despite this, Caterham scored again (4-3). Teddington fought back even harder, Emma pushed her team into Caterham's half with a series of corners. With a handful of minutes left a solo run brought Caterham level (4-4), and they even had a chance to win the match with a corner in the dying seconds. Yet however hard Caterham and the wind huffed and puffed they still couldn't blow the Teddington house down.

Well done to the girls, that was a full 80 minutes of hard graft. A good draw against a strong and skilful side.

Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls and keeping calmer than everyone else on the sideline, thank you to Rohan was being our linesman, to the referee and to Caterham for an epic battle.

TAFC Team: Emily, Catia, Emma, Neave, Harriet, Lydia, Issy, Jess, Willow, Lauren, Kitty, Kate 
Goals: Kitty (2) Emily (1), Willow (1)
Player of the match: Issy (Chosen by Simon)
Shots: TAFC 17 - 23 Caterham
Shots on target: TAFC 14 - 17 Caterham