The ladies 2s started their 2015-16 campaign with a strong performance against Harrogate 2s who they will play against in the league this season following promotion last year. Whilst the core of the squad has been retained, the loss of three talented juniors to the first team could potentially have left the team short of pace in key areas of the pitch but the experience of Tina Parson and Rachel Barson stepping down from the 1s, along with Nan in goal provided strength at the back and another goal threat in the forward line, both of which proved vital over the course of the game.
The earlier than scheduled start time brought the first problem as a squad of the bare eleven players began the game with only 10 due to the late arrival of Claudia who was still playing a school match for GSAL. However, Adel began in confident mood, passing the ball around nicely and using the width of the pitch to their advantage. This created chances for Hannah and April to link up with the forwards and several penalty corners were won before Claudia arrived half way through the first half. She was immediately thrown in to play in the centre of the midfield where her strong running and distribution continued to create chances for Adel. The first goal eventually arrived although there was some debate as to whether Jade had kicked the ball in the build up to her scrambling the ball over the goal line. To be fair to Harrogate their complaints were minimal and the game was played in a great spirit throughout.
The second Adel goal came shortly after when another penalty corner was worked to the left switch where Sophie struck a sweet shot with such force that she fell over and missed the ball going in to the net. Harrogate pulled one back just before half time with a well worked move which saw Nan finally beaten after making many fine saves to thwart Harrogate who were rotating their players to their advantage.
The second half saw continued Adel pressure with Robyn playing in a new role down the right hand side creating several opportunities for the forwards but the final pass and Jade’s preference for diving on the ground meant further goals were slow in arriving. Harrogate then pulled back an equaliser against the run of play which seemed to wake up the Adel team and eventually a well worked move down the left saw Laura Summers in plenty of space in the D with time to pick her spot to the keepers left with a well struck finish. As Harrogate pressed forward in search of an equaliser, Adel continued to defend well and Becky and Rachel Barson made several tackles to protect the Adel lead whilst Nan made some strong diving saves when it looked as though the Harrogate forwards must score. Finally, one counter attack saw Sophie find Tina Parson in the D with time to slot the ball past the keeper and secure a 4-2 victory.
A good team performance with the experienced players who have dropped down from the 1s providing a strong platform to complement the youthful running of April, Hannah, Sophie and Claudia. With several regulars unavailable, the team should benefit from having a bigger squad in future weeks to allow player rotation.
MOM – Robyn
DOD – Jade (who else?!)