Magpies under 14 girls with a young team of predominantly of year 8s – four year 9s in total – and a year 7 debuting in goal arrived at Leicester Grammar school on a warm sunny day with high hopes.
Team: Abi Lewis (GK), Alice Wiseman, Amelia Slade, Amy Collison, Beth Moodie, Ellen Pope, Holly Hanrahan, Honey Lamdin, Georgie Cantrell (Capt), Georgie Gardens, Keira Wheeler, Molly Warnes, Tabitha Borrett, Victoria Spouncer
Undefeated in competition all season a tough round was expected with toughest game up first.
Game 1: Reading 2-1 Magpies (Leicester 0-1 Cirencester on other pitch)
Goals: Georgie Cantrell
Classic Magpies we gave Reading a half start in this one getting a thorough 1-0 thrashing in the first. The score-line merely shows what a nervy start it was by both sides and the tremendous defence we displayed during a period when we barely got out of our own 25 including at least one phenomenal diving save by Abi to prevent a goal with her stick. Wave after wave of penalty corners ensued with Reading misfiring until eventually toward the end of the first half they inevitably scored.
This part of the team strategy I was clearly not privy to.
The same eleven stepped on the pitch in the second half but it was a completely different team.
Wave after wave of Magpies attack ensued and Reading were rumbled. With around four minutes to go a mazy run from Georgie C through the D ending in a close quarters nerveless push past the keeper broke the deadlock. Game on. And we continued to press for the winner.
Knowing full well that you’re at your most vulnerable when you’ve scored it was in this period that the team manager lost his voice. And sure enough, from a Magpies attack Reading countered getting a ball through our midfield and defence to a group of three attackers camped out in our D behind our defence. Abi handled two but the ball fell to the third who reversed it into the goal with less than two minutes to go.
We picked ourselves up and immediately went for the Reading goal but despite giving it everything the whistle came too soon.
It was small consolation to know that we had give Reading their toughest game of the season.
Game 2 Magpies 0-2 Cirencester (Leicester 0-3 Reading)
A strange one this. It neither felt as intense nor did Cirencester feel to be as good a side as Reading. Nevertheless we couldn’t take our chances and Cirencester got two relatively simple goals at key stages in each half.
After on paper our two toughest games, we’d played all our 14 girls all of whom had given absolutely everything. I shan’t forget Georgie G’s look towards me towards the end of the second game when I helpfully suggested another run – even telepathy has ***s in it – and despite a strong sense that the 50/50s were not to be going our way every team member stayed positive, committed and dedicated to the team.
So with one game to go and our first outing on the water pitch anticipated…
Game 3 Leicester 0-7 Magpies (Reading 2-1 Cirencester)
Despite the official score sheet saying 6, it was 7.
Goals: Alice Wiseman, Ellen Pope, Georgie Cantrell (3), Georgie Gardens, Molly Warnes
A tactical tweak, a ringing of the changes, the shackles off and only pride to play for… and it all came together. We played with freedom and our fitness showed, by the end Leicester understandably looking the more tired. Goals were now coming from everywhere with both Bobby and Molly getting their first u14 goals of the season and Georgie C her regulation hat trick. The one small disappointment was that one of our most skilful, dedicated, hard working, deserving and above all modest players, Amy, didn’t quite get on the score-sheet this year – saving it up for next!
Firstly to Wendy and her team at Leicester who put on a great event and supplied us with a very fair and calm umpire in Graham who is welcome at Weybread at any time – bring a responsible adult to drive you home Graham, we have a very good bar!
Secondly as always to our wonderful supporters and support crew. Our parents and especially to Grace, Izzy and Rob who helped me run the bench, especially to Rob for all the running player repairs! We can rebuild her….
Penultimately to Martin, Nick and Sandra for all their dedication, hard work and unlimited patience (especially with me!) throughout the winter.
And finally to all the girls. The team, the wider squad and birthday girl Grace our regular GK. We couldn’t want for better. We hope you come back wanting more next season. And good luck to Alice, Beth, Georgie, Liv and Molly in the u16s.
We have (at least – I’ve just seen a note possibly about another from Sandra!) two remaining fixtures
Sunday 30 April – Braintree Blue Hornets end of season friendly – details to follow
Friday 19 May – Youth Presentation Evening (remember to let Alison and Nick know that you’re coming!!)