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