Adel’s first home league game of the season had double significance, if the team could win it would mark their 22nd home league victory in a row and more importantly this winning span would eclipse the two year mark. Secondly, the visit of EH Trophy finalists Harrogate added a local feel to the fixture.
Adel quickly asserted themselves, retaining possession early on and slowly but surely moved further up the field. Debutant Gannon with the first chance of the game as she ran through one on one, only to see her clever attempt thwarted by excellent goalkeeping. As sisters Blyth and Hesselwood would dominate the attack through the middle, the returning Byers went back into centre-half offering reassuring support to the ever keen front five. With Smith, Jones, Wright and Gannon were offering plenty of trouble upfront, the youthful and absolutely rapid support of Love, Shields and Straughan were causing mayhem from half back positions. The static Harrogate defence was rocking and the crowd were sure of goals to come, more and more great saves from the Harrogate keeper kept the scores deadlocked. The occasional Harrogate danger was comfortably dealt with by Gibson, Pugh and Taylor, however a clever run saw a Harrogate player upended in the area, the penalty stroke awarded immediately. A player putting the ball into the goal may claim to be unlucky, however the Adel defence at this point were at the dugout getting some refreshment. McCall took to the line, second guessing where the ball may be placed, needed not fear as the ball was sent skywards and over by the nervous taker. Halftime 0-0.
The second half started off similar to the first half, Adel pressing forwards and looking confident, yet unable to break the deadlock. The rotations continued and Adel’s superior youth and fitness was starting to show as the game entered Primal time. The breakthrough was always coming and following some dangerous build up play, the ball fell to A.Blyth in front of goal and the ringing of the backboard sweet relief to the watching crowd. Whilst Adel looked to build on the lead, Harrogate themselves were looking to push forward for the equaliser, their keenness to win the ball back resulting in some untimely tackles and timely green cards. In the end the game settled down, Adel happy for the points and Harrogate happy for a close score line.
An important first league victory for the team and a great confidence builder following last week’s disappointment at conceding a late equaliser, four points from the first two fixtures a decent return and the team position fourth in the early league table. Next week the team travel to Bowdon for a late afternoon encounter against a team who currently occupy top spot with a 100% record.
Many thanks to the NHUA and umpires who again officiated an excellent game and Senior Big Blyth, TD debut, in a role that was made for him! We can also never forget the midday crowd on what will surely be one of the last sunny days at Church Lane in 2016.
MoM- Flo Straughan, a fearless display, of pace, skill and aggression, causing havoc from right half. #thefutureisbright
DoD- Claire Byers, instructed by the Adel coach to not speak to the umpires or the opposition coach, she did both, of course.