Yateley 5-1 Andover
The under 12 girls stepped onto the pitch for their final game of the season on Sunday on the back of a good run of form which saw them tough out a 1-1 draw against Basingstoke, and record a confident 2-0 win against Camberley and Farnborough.
The girls were expecting a tough test from an Andover side just one point below them in the table, but were keen to finish the season on a high.
Having struggled with availability earlier in the season, we were fielding a strong side, and this showed early on, with Yateley taking control from the start and dominating possession. A number of close calls, with the midfield and forwards working well together, failed to register on the scoreboard, but there was always the feeling that the goal was coming. Midfielders Dominie (captain for the day and later to be awarded player of the match by the opposition) and Amelia worked tirelessly to keep the ball in the opposition half, ably assisted by Lila, thriving in her new slightly deeper position having been moved back from the front line, and they eventually proved too much for the Andover defence to handle. A prolonged spell of pressure saw Ellie pounce on a loose ball and calmly slot it away for the first goal of the game.
Yateley came in at the first break for some jelly beans and words of encouragement with the lead intact after keeping control of the game, thanks to the ever impressive Cara taking control of the middle of the pitch, and Katherine, impressing in her first game for the team, by proving to be rock solid in the tackle and the coolest head on the pitch.
The second period began in much the same way, and by the time Andover began to threaten the home sides defence, Yateley were three goals up, after skilful pocket rocket Lila had worked herself in to great positions and been on hand to put the final touch on to two well worked goals.
The defence were tested by the visitors as they managed to put some better hockey together, and Yateley’s achilles heal of the dreaded marking began to rear its ugly head, but some excellent channeling and marking by Dee, and strong tackling with determination by Rebecca, combined with a few last ditch clearances, some saves from the goalkeeper and a little bit of luck, saw the home side retain their clean sheet for a little longer.
With usual goalkeeper Abbie doing a great job getting stuck in out on pitch, and Amy growing in confidence and influencing the game from midfield, Yateley managed to regain control and put the game further out of reach with their fourth goal, Ellie once again showing her speed and strength to be first to the ball and finishing with a cool head.
With the whole team playing so well and showcasing some of their best hockey this season, the team talk at the final break was easy.
More of the same please, and a clean sheet would be nice.
Sadly this was not to be, as Andover managed a consolation goal midway through the final third, their player just finding the tiny gap between goalkeeper Rosie’s outstretched leg and the inside of the post, followed quickly by another narrow miss to set Yateley nerves jangling just a little.
The nerves were settled a few minutes from time, when Rose, who had worked hard getting into excellent space all game, was rewarded for her efforts when she slotted home from the post to score her first goal for the team in the full pitch format.
Yateley were deserved 5-1 winners at the final whistle, but more importantly, have improved week on week throughout the season from a group of individually talented girls, to a real team, working hard for each other and producing some fantastic hockey, of which they should be very proud.
I’d bet my lovely shiny new hockey stick there’s more than a few Ladies 1st XI of the future that walked off that pitch yesterday!