Teddington Athletic U15 Girls v. Woking Cougars
0 - 1
Teddington Athletic U15 Girls finished the season in fighting spirit at Udney Park Road today. Against a strong and capable Woking Cougars they were deprived of the win but finish the season in an excellent third place. And what a season it's been! Congratulations to Demetrios and all the girls.
On a bright and sunny morning both teams started the match with purpose and desire. Teddington deployed their midfield of steel, an iron curtain of Abi, Kate and Emma that Woking just couldn't break down. It set the tone for the first half, which was tight and edgy. Each team had five shots on target, none of them really being clear cut opportunities. Teddington had the best of the first quarter, Willow and Kitty seemed to be everywhere, desperately trying to force that first chance. Kitty's tireless running won several corners for her team and she was even able to trouble the Woking keeper after a very long kick out by Jess. Sophia's intelligent placement at corners and long throws gave her chances, including one that edged over the Woking bar.
On such a warm day Teddington's substitutes made an impact when they were thrust into the midfield melee. Catia's direct style almost cracked open the Woking defence with a number of high looping balls. Megan in contrast played sharp passing moves that sliced through the excellent Woking back four. Teddington's defence were equally proficient. Issy and Lydia were pinned back several times by the opposition's winger but they were always in the ascendency and never really troubled. All eyes were on Neave after her special mention at the TAFC awards yesterday and she lived up to her top billing by restricting Woking to speculative long range chances. Despite the ferocity of these shots Jess plucked them out of the air with aplomb. For the spectators the midfield battle was enthralling, first there was a flying tackle from Willow followed by a number of crunchers from Lauren. Then Teddington's two mistresses of destruction, Kate and Abi, laid waste to the centre ground. Sparks flew as they clashed bravely with their counterparts.
The sunshine took its toll in the second half. While the player's legs tired the match quickened in pace with snappy passing moves and skilful interchanges. Woking exploited the space that was starting to open up and their passing football pushed Teddington's defence to their absolute limits. Lydia's canny interceptions utilised every fibre of her body including a powerful shot that ricocheted off her stomach and winded her. Issy produced a breath taking goal-line clearance to deny Woking when they thought they had scored. It is no surprise Harriet won the 2019 TAFC Player's Player Award (alongside Jess) because she chases down every ball, helps out her teammates when all seems lost in defence. Once again she was a stand out performer, and if there was an award chosen by team reporters then she would certainly be near the top of this list.
Despite Woking having five times as many shots as their opponents in the second half Teddington weren't without their attacking intent. Kate dribbled out of defence on one of her amazing mazy runs, a neat pass gave Kitty the chance of a shot. Catia's punchy passes found Kitty and Sophia up front, while Willow's outstretched boot nearly nicked a goal. Teddington relied on Jess's bravery and skill a number of times in the final 15 minutes. First the Teddington goalie parried a wicked shot and was knocked to the ground for her troubles. Next she saved a dipping back pass with an outstretched paw, and finally threw herself at the feet of marauding attacker. There was little she could do about Woking's winner when their effervescent winger slotted home a goal with 5 minutes to go. Teddington gave it their all to bring the match level, Emma was impressive in the final throes, her skill and inventiveness always galvanises the team. Unfortunately it was a familiar theme for Teddington today and a clear opportunity at goal never came their way.
Congratulations to all the girls for a fabulous season. It has been a pleasure to write the match reports and capture your heroic exploits. Thank you to Demetrios for managing the team, to the referee, and to Chris and Daragh for being our linesmen today.
Our match photographer today was Martin, thank you for these fabulous photos. You can find a selection of action shots here https://www.flickr.com/gp/mbridge_uk/jLA6Se
TAFC Team: Catia, Emma, Harriet, Issy, Jess, Kate, Kitty, Lauren, Lydia, Abi, Megan, Neave, Sophia, Willow
Player of the match: Kate (Chosen by Isobel - Kitty's Aunt)
Shots total: TAFC 17 - 25 Woking
Shots on target: TAFC 8 - 16 Woking
TAFC Awards 2018/2019 Season
Coaches' of Player of the Year - Emma
Manager's Player of the Year - Kate
Players' Player of the Year - Harriet and Jess