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