Girls Development v Norwich City  W 1-0

The Girls Development team travelled to Taverham for a much anticipated clash with rivals Norwich City. This was going to be a re-match for the top two teams in the League, with the previous outing giving Norwich City a 1 – 0 win after a very well contested, hard fought game. The only defeat of the season was not taken well by many of the young Magpies so with a strong squad, this was the opportunity to reverse their fortunes!

The first quarter saw a dominant Norwich City spreading the ball well and retaining the ball for extended periods. With much of the play taking place in the Magpies half, it was predominantly a quarter of defence and containment, with both forwards and mid-field being forced back to hold off the probing Norwich City. With everyone sitting so deep, the few occasions Magpies did manage to work the ball up into the Norwich City half saw them break down due to lack of support. Magpies did manage to win a few short corners but were unable to put these chances away. At the end of the first quarter, Magpies had done well to contain Norwich City and keep the score at 0 – 0.

Whatever was said to the girls at the interval worked! As the second quarter commenced, we started to compete in mid-field, with Beth G, Evie B and Loulou F chasing and harassing everything. As well as running with the ball themselves, this increase in possession re-invigorated others with Ellie B being released to make searching runs down the righty.  As play shifted up the field and confidence began to appear, Alex P-S, Jess S, Kate F and Amie H started to adjust to the tempo of the game and support the runners ahead of them while working hard when not in possession. But Norwich were always a threat. Whenever the ball was squeezed through the mid-field, Harriet S, Amy F, Emma F, Tilly D and Sandra E were kept busy while Georgia F in goal needed to be alert for any stray ball. While defending one of the Norwich City short corners, the ball managed to roll into Magpies goal but fortunately was disallowed as a whistle for a foot in the D had previously been blown by an umpire. At the end of the first half, still 0 – 0.

The third quarter saw both teams continue where they left off, with good pressure and opportunities for Loulou F, Evie B and Ellie B up front, then some stout defending by Alex P-S and Amy F in defence. The game was seesawing from end to end with much of Magpies success coming from Beth’s resilience in mid-field, defending anything that Norwich City tried to bring through the middle and, when in possession, moving the ball wide or up the pitch to eager runners. Half way through the quarter, Magpies managed to win a short corner. Although not blocked correctly, Kate F and Evie B managed to work the ball back into a congested D where there was a frantic flurry of sticks from both sides – the result being a goal for Jess S! The deadlock had been broken and after few more minutes play and with smiles on faces, the whistle went for the end of the quarter. Score 1 – 0 to Magpies.

The final quarter saw no let up from either side, both knowing how precarious a one goal lead was. Magpies defence with Georgia in goal continued to thwart numerous Norwich City intrusions in and around the D while, Beth G, Amy H, Ellie B and Evie B continued to have their fair share of attacks at the other end. After what seemed an eternity the final whistle went, with the resultant smiles from all the girls involved showing what this win meant to them. It also proved an opportunity for coaches, parents and supporters to mop their furrowed brows with anxious relief!

Team: Sandra E, Georgia F, Emma F, Tilly D, Amy F, Harriet S, Alex P-S, Kate F, Amy H, Jess S, Beth G, Evie B, Flo C, Ellie B, Loulou F.

Goal Scorer: Jess S (1)