In the end this was a fairly comfortable first round cup win for the girls, with one or two sticky moments. We had not played Priory Celtic before and with so many teams beating each other in our division this year we didn't know what to expect, but it is always good to see new girls teams emerging and we welcomed them to Butt Field. After the terrible day at the office last time out, our players were asked to focus on what they did so well in the first half-dozen games of the season. Namely, competing hard for possession and taking care of the ball when they had it. There were some other tactics of course but they're top secret (so if we told you, we'd have to kill you).
The match saw the welcome return of Diesel. What looked like a very serious wrist injury in the game two weeks ago fortunately turned out to not be a break, though she assures us it was extremely painful and the photos show it turned a variety of nasty looking colours.
Once the game settled down after the opening 5 minutes Bingham dominated the midfield area and so controlled the game. Izzy and Katy in centre mid were quick on to the ball and Lauren and Diesel worked hard on the flanks. Most of the attacking joy was coming through Lauren down the right wing, and a good run and cross set up Anna G for an emphatic finish from close range. The girls doubled their lead through Izzy who sharply hooked in a high ball after a cross was popped up in the air at the back post. Our third came from Anna again linking up with Lauren and firing home from the right hand side of the box, across the goalkeeper into the bottom left corner. Complacency was our biggest enemy at this point and the girls were almost caught out after some ball watching at the back saw the Celtic striker in on goal. A great save from Pip bailed out the defence. Then some confusion between Anna B and Pip saw the former almost turn the ball into her own net but fortunately it rolled wide for a corner. The girls sorted themselves out and after a Bingham corner was cleared back to her Nic casually struck the ball over the keeper from the edge of the penalty area. That was it for the first 40 and really the girls could have been much further in front. H/T Bingham Town 4 - 0 Priory Celtic.
Some positional switches were made at the break and the girls continued to dominate the game. Despite my pleading with them to keep a clean sheet, the first goal against was conceded against the run of play after a defence splitting pass on half way was finished very well by the Priory Celtic striker with a low shot right into the corner. This lifted the visitors for a few minutes, but our defence was up to the task and Izzy soon restored the 4 goal cushion with a trademark run into the box and firm shot. Lauren, now playing down the left, got herself onto the score sheet after playing a couple of 1-2s with Katy and scoring from inside the box. Probably the goal of the day because of the build up play. Izzy completed her hat-trick and the home team's scoring, again working her way into the box and scoring from 10 yards out. The last word went to Celtic who scored their second in the last minute following a bit of a mix up at the back, but we'll forgive that one as the game was done and dusted. F/T Bingham Town 7 - 2 Priory Celtic
This was a much better performance by the girls. On the ball they did all that we asked from them and off the ball they improved hugely from the previous game. Honourable mentions go to Rioja who was outstanding at right back, and Elisabeth who did a great job in the unfamiliar left back position. Evie's return as the calming influence alongside the all-action Anna B was very welcome. Pip was solid in everything she did, her handling was great and she commanded the box well. All the midfielders played well, Diesel quickly getting over her nerves about her wrist, and Drew put herself about in her usual manner! Katy was as solid as ever and the attacking triangle that forms between Izzy, Lauren and Anna G is starting to look very effective. Up front all the girls contributed well, Anna and Nic with goals and Mia and Eve with some nice hold up play and good defending from the front. The Celtic players kept going and working hard despite being behind for most of the match and seem like a good bunch of girls. We play them again in a month in the league and we will have to work very hard if we want another positive result.
We're still debating the Player of the Match ahead of Tuesday training. Next week we're back in the league vs the other Celtic, Holy Spirit.