Out of the Plate after a tight match
By Russ Gibbs
Christmas break too long for our girls? Too many chocs?!!
After well over a month off from playing matches and only one training session since Christmas, the wide open spaces of 11-a-side football proved to be very demanding.
Our regular goalkeeper Pip had fallen and hurt her back on Saturday, meaning volunteers were needed to go in goal otherwise "volunteers" would be selected by the coaches. Fortunately for our more nervous players Mia and Elisabeth stepped up to do a half each.
The ground at Long Bennington inclines in various directions, so despite the excavations that have taken place to level things off both the 9-a-side and the full size pitch have noticable slopes from one end to the other. Bingham played the first half going down the slight hill on a muddy and bobbly pitch. Lack of practice in recent weeks and the state of the surface made ball control difficult, and playing down the slope resulted in quite a few forward passes running away from our strikers. The home team coped a bit better, showing some nice touches in midfield. There was little in the match though, each team seemingly taking turns to dominate for a few minutes but neither goalie was troubled. Long Bennington did have the ball in the net after half an hour but it was ruled out for offside. HT: Long Bennington 0 - 0 Bingham Town.
In the second half, it was a game of two quarters! Bingham played very well for the first period and took the lead. Lauren's excellent overlapping run through the inside left channel was spotted by Katy who played a lovely ball into her path. Lauren coolly nicked the ball past the approaching keeper and continued her run to slot the ball into the vacant goal. For the next ten minutes Bingham bossed the game and had a couple of chances to extend the lead and put the game out of reach. The best of these fell to Nic who, when a cross was cleared to her, took an early shot even though it was not on her best foot. It was a decent strike well saved by the goalkeeper. This is the kind of thing we want to see them attempt, rather than spending valuable time in a crowded area trying to manoeuvre the ball into the perfect position to shoot.
One of football's well worn cliches is that you have to score when you are on top. This proved to be true as the Bingham girls ran out of steam a little in the last 15 minutes. The home side equalised with a close range finish and then snatched it with a similar goal with five minutes remaining. Elisabeth was in our goal by this time and had no chance with either strike, and up to that point had dealt excellently with everything that came to her. Had the game finished all square there'd have been a short period of extra time and then penalties, which would have been a hard thing to put a brave volunteer through. Full Time: LB 2 - 1 BTFC
Overall this was one of those that could have gone either way and neither team would have had too many complaints. Our matches with LB are generally pretty close so everyone gets something useful out of it, regardless of the result. We looked a little rusty and it was a much-needed workout. After our glorious charge to runners-up in the 9-a-side division, we must use the rest of this season to get the girls properly used to 11-a-side and give plenty of valuable game time to our newer recruits.
There were several candidates for BTFC Player of the Match including Lauren, Katy and Elisabeth, but in the end it went to Anna B for another typically all-action display in central defence.