Back when this team were just starting out as U11s and losing by double figures fairly regularly (the least said about those opposition managers the better), Holy Spirit Celtic were very similar to us ability wise and were the opposition when we had our first ever win. Since those heady days when the players were all still at junior school, we have not managed to repeat this feat; in fact we have not even managed a draw. However, HSC have been struggling to get a win this season meaning we travelled with hopes fairly high but without being able to use possibly our keenest player Anna B, who fractured her ankle in the week and is having an enforced lay off for the rest of 2018. Of course she still turned up to watch and let us sign her plaster cast. The team spirit among these girls (and their chauffeurs / parents) really is something else and we're all very proud of them.
It was a cloudy Remembrance Sunday and a cold wind was undoing the warm-up during the well observed minute's silence. We kicked off playing into the wind and the girls had some early chances thanks to some good play on both wings by Lauren and Diesel, helped by the starting forwards Anna G and Mia. The longer we went on without a goal the more we stopped doing what we are good at, and started to do what HSC are good at and we are not, namely playing up the middle, being very physical and very direct. However, our new look central defence of Evie and Elisabeth were equal to the task and the the full backs Rioja and Bella (and later on Lily) kept chances to a minimum for the home team. In goal Pip dealt capably with everything that came her way. The breakthrough for Bingham eventually came when Katy found some space on the edge of the box and hit a strong left footed shot. The goalie did very well to reach it and looked as though she'd made a great save but it crept over the line just inside the post. Nic and Emily came on up front and kept the pressure on the home defence with some good closing down. The lead was doubled when a hard cross from the right was deflected in by the goalkeeper for an own goal. At half-time it was Holy Spirit Celtic 0 - 2 Bingham Town.
Our girls were advised to stick to what they do best and to move the ball out wide along the floor. They tried to do this, but the home players had clearly been told to double up on our main playmakers and so the going was tough. Izzy and Anna had several chances that on another day would have seen the girls win by a comfortable score, but on this day the shots were all going straight to the goalkeeper. Drew put herself about as we needed a more physical presence and Diesel had fallen over a few times and we were concerned about her wrist injury recurring. HSC got one back when a corner went through everyone and inside the back post. Only minutes later after we didn't clear a throw in, a speculative punt sailed over Pip who had no chance in the full sized goals. Having largely dominated the match we could feel unfortunate to have been pegged back but you have to credit the other team for sticking at it. Our captain Lauren felt she would have more luck if she switched wings, since the defence were doubling up on her down the right. She duly moved to the left, and with Diesel now back on she swapped to the right. With under 10 minutes remaining it was Diesel who won the ball in midfield and switched it out to the left. Lauren took the ball past 2 defenders to the corner of the penalty box. Seeing that there was no-one up with play to cross to, she struck a beauty of a shot high across the goalie. The keeper got a hand on it but the shot had too much power and flew into the top corner. The girls then kept up a good pressing game high up the pitch for the remainder of the match to keep the pressure off our defence, and no more scares ensued. FT: HSC 2 - 3 BTFC
This was one of those games where it was all about finding a way to win. Some teams have a style of play that just doesn't suit us at all and this game was very physical with lots of pushing and shoving, and by all accounts a few verbals too. HSC hung in there despite having a weakened side and it looked like it might be another one of those days where we couldn't finish it off. Fortunately thanks to a piece of brilliance by the skipper and lots of effort by everyone the girls managed it and the 4 year wait was over. Special mentions this week to Elisabeth for being an able stand-in for Anna B, to Rioja who was once again excellent in defence along with Lily and Bella (and Molly in the second half). 'Angry Diesel' was quite a thing to behold and she was great. Izzy and Katy kept plugging away despite not being allowed to play as they can. However, the Vintage Magnolia Trophy winner for this week as BTFC Player of the Match is Evie. She is our calming presence at the back, and despite having a toe injury from a hockey match and suffering a clash of heads early on in this game, she once again gave a very solid and measured performance. Next up is a tough test at home vs Wollaton & Bramcote.