Caterham Pumas v. TAFC U15
5 - 1
Teddington Athletic U15 Girls suffered their first league defeat of the season against a fluent and ruthless Caterham Pumas today. After making the long trip to Caterham two weeks ago in the cup both girls and parents were hopeful of a positive outcome, but Teddington were always on the back foot, and never looked like securing the win. Yet on this wet and gloomy day there were still gilt-edged performances that shone through.
Like a harbinger of doom the first spots of rain hinted at a rough voyage ahead for Teddington. No sooner had they cast adrift it was Teddington who were shipping water, two quick goals plunged into their net and the team were close to capsizing. Teddington are made of stern stuff and they soon plugged their leaking holes. Issy had a fighting game at right back, often repelling wave upon wave of Caterham attacks. As the wind and rain pummelled the pitch the girls grew more resolute. The tough conditions bringing out the best in a Teddington team that resembled a slightly ragtag but battle-hardened pirate crew. Caterham had their silky skills and neat passing game but Teddington had the guts and the heart to fight back. Despite Willow putting in an early tackle the midfield was being overrun. Consistently the Caterham vanguard forced back the Teddington back four of Harriet, Lydia, Kate and Issy. Kitty worked tirelessly, sitting a little deeper than usual, she was a consistent outlet for an attacking force that was being cut off from their defence.
Slowly Teddington pressed Caterham into their own half, Issy winning throw-ins down the right and Emma pushing back Caterham with her excellent long throws. Despite this dominance they couldn't find the space to fire a really clear shot at goal. Teddington had just 5 shots in the first half, two of those on target. They won a series of corners though, taken on the left by Emma and the right by Harriet. These were pumped into the danger zone but no easy chances fell Teddington's way. As the half drew to a close Kate was swamped 3 times by the Caterham attack and 3 times she kept her side from drowning.
The second half heralded a change in fortunes, the Teddington pirates had found the key that unlocked the Caterham treasure chest. Kitty swept down the left wing, feeding Emily who was starved all game of those balls she likes to run onto. This was Emily's bounty, she drove to the touchline and cut back an exquisite cross that Sophia rifled into the Caterham net. Fate though is a cruel mistress. Just as Teddington looked to be back in the game a slippery ball escaped Jess' grasp and fell at the feet of a Caterham striker. Once again Teddington came under intense pressure, Caterham counterattacking with speed, forcing a fine save from Jess under her own crossbar. It wouldn't be proper game if we didn't see Lydia swooping in to deny an opponent their opportunity. Now the tide began to turn a little in Teddington's favour, Neave grabbed a foothold in midfield and alongside Willow they were able to link up with Emily. Unfortunately in the wet conditions it wasn't easy for Emily to go on those jinking solo runs, that so often end in a goal.
It was a frustrating second half with a number of corners for Teddington and the inevitable bagatelle in the Caterham box. As the rain abated Caterham's passing game flowed even stronger, consistently they tested Jess, forcing a number of difficult saves in damp conditions. Twice they were quicker to the rebound and buried these chances without mercy. In the final minutes there were some flashes of class from the TAFC midfield too, clever interlinking play from both Willow and Emma gave chances to Emily in attack. The bleakness of the winter rain didn't dampen the spirits of Sophia and Kitty who kept charging forward to the bitter end. Nor to the resilience of the Teddington defence, who looked exhausted at the final whistle. Harriet was awarded Player of the Match by Richard for her steeliness and defiance under intense Caterham pressure.
A big thank you to Megan for coming along to support the girls. On such a wet and inclement day it was beyond the call of duty but very much appreciated.
Thank you to Demetrios for managing the girls, to the referee, and to Jon and Martin for linesmen duties. Congratulations to Caterham who have deposed Teddington at the top of the Division 1 table.
TAFC team - Emily, Emma, Harriet, Lydia, Jess, Willow, Neave, Kitty, Sophia, Kate, Issy
Goals - Sophia (1).
Player of the Match - Harriet (Chosen by Richard)
Shots - Caterham 32 vs 9 Teddington
Shots on target - Caterham 22 - 5 Teddington