Not quite the sum of the parts
This was our 20th match of the season. Given the shocking amount of water and snow we had over the winter and spring we did quite well to get to that many games, but really there should have been at least six more matches on top.
What has been interesting in our fixtures with Long Bennington is watching how much both teams have improved over the last couple of years. There are generally plenty of goals, sometimes in our favour, sometimes not. Always the games are much closer than the scoreline may indicate. This game, on a lovely sunny morning, had quite a tight first half where the sleepy Bingham girls conceded inside 30 seconds, before equalising through Lauren, before going behind again, before equalising again through Lauren on the stroke of half time. In reality we could have scored 5 or 6 goals in the first half and Izzy was very unlucky to see a long range effort bounce off both posts and come out again. To be fair, at the other end we rode our luck somewhat with some hair-raising defending. H/T BTFC 2 - 2 Long Bennington.
In the second half it seemed everyone was trying to do too much on their own, rather than trusting in their team mates and getting the passing and movement going. Though the effort was there, the teamwork that has produced many good performances this season was not. We didn't help ourselves by giving away a soft penalty for handball and then switching off from a throw in to allow a free shot from close range to creep in at the near post. The final goal was perhaps a little harsh on our girls who had worked the Bennington keeper a few times in the second half. F/T BTFC 2 - 5 Long Bennington.
There was definitely an end-of-season vibe from our team, but that shouldn't detract from Long Bennington's greater desire to win and tidy finishing. They deserved it on the day, no excuses from us. BTFC Player of the Match was Lauren for her brace of goals.
At the end of our 4th season we can reflect on our most successful so far in terms of wins and goals scored. We have also integrated several brand new players into the squad and they have all begun to hold their own in matches, some in fact doing much better than we could have hoped. There is work to do on defence and our tendency to let a couple of goals conceded become a lot of goals conceded, but as coaches we relish getting stuck into that work with the players. Next weekend we will be at the Notts Girls and Ladies Football League presentation day to collect our runners-up trophy and medals for the Autumn league. To add some playing honours to our Respect award from last season is a great achievement by the girls and one we are all very proud of.