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