TAFC U15 Girls v. Woking Cougars
0 - 0
It wasn't only the glorious mud that cooled the blood down at Udney Park today. Teddington Athletic U15 Girls and Woking Cougars also had to contend with a whipping wind from the North that chilled the game into a cryonic 0-0 draw. Both Teddington Athletic and Woking Cougars tried their hardest to fire up this encounter, and both teams had chances to win, but the conditions really won this match on such a grey and wintery Sunday.
The game was largely played out in the centre of the pitch, the ball constantly ricocheted between the two teams with barely a clear chance for the strikers or keepers to gain notoriety. This isn't to say there wasn't noteworthy performances. Lauren opened the match on sparkling form, and we saw the best of her ability to play short passing football with Willow and Emily. Matilda's skill on the right wing was the brightest of sparks on this dull day, and she regularly beat her opposite player and pumped dangerous balls towards the strikers. Emily too was able to trouble the Woking defence, she fashioned the clearest of chances in the opening quarter with a cross that just evaded a leaping Willow in the six yard box.
Teddington were caught between the 'up and under' football typified by Neave and Harriet at the back, and a more scudding approach employed by Emma and Lydia. The wind nullified the high balls while the mud sucked the life out of the passes that skipped across the patchy grass. An energised Megan, Catia and Sophia came on with fresh legs and immediately they seemed to turn the game. Their dogged work helped Emily break through, but the ball just eluded her in the final strides. Quick-thinking Catia and Emma put Plan B into operation, their long shots tested the Woking keeper who had an excellent game. Teddington managed two shots on target in the first half while Woking weren't far away with four. It goes without saying that both defences had an excellent game.
With the wind in their favour in the second half Teddington restarted the match with new vigour. Kate bisected the Woking midfield but Catia's shot was saved, then Emily muscled her way into a fabulous scoring opportunity only for the Woking keeper to make a fingertip save down to her right. Kate had an absolutely epic second half. She could be seen regularly flying through the air like a Kung Fu master, her interceptions cutting out Woking passes in all corners of the pitch. Although the shot count is marginally in Woking's favour it was Teddington who had the clearest chances and more of the possession. It was largely a match for the toilers, Sophia and Megan epitomised this work ethic, running themselves into the sodden ground.
The contest was surprisingly open in the last quarter of the match with Woking regularly hitting Teddington on the break. Issy, the new titan of the defence, averted disaster by shouldering her opponents into the touchline. Lydia swooped in at the last minute, her pace the saviour. Harriet and Neave kept the Woking right side under wraps. Despite this Woking forged through the middle three times, and all three times Jess bravely slid head first into the danger zone. These vital saves not only kept Teddington in the match but with the wind behind her she was able to turn defence into attack with a mighty kick downfield. It was the home side who had the last chance, a gilt edged opportunity just two yards from goal that bobbled cruelly over a Teddington boot. Perhaps it was the pitch playing one last cruel trick on the players.
Thank you to the referee, to Demetrios, and to Rohan for being our linesman.
TAFC Team: Emily, Catia, Emma, Neave, Harriet, Lydia, Sophia, Issy, Jess, Willow, Lauren, Kate, Matilda, Megan
Player of the match: Matilda (Chosen by Tracey)
Shots total: TAFC 16 - 17 Woking
Shots on target: TAFC 11 - 12 Woking