On Saturday the 22nd October 2022 the Panthers played away at St Albans to take on the Harvesters. With no game for the Peacocks this week, PH joined the team.
The girls started well in the first quarter. PH won the ball in the Panther’s half and ran at the Harvesters defence. She battled forward and found herself through on goal. She took the ball round the advancing goalkeeper and slotted home the opening goal. FH put in some strong tackles in midfield and worked well with DG to put pressure on the opposition.
IW stood her ground in defence and kept the attack at arms-length. Behind her, LD was in goal. She made some important saves to keep the lead intact. Midway through the quarter EW came on and continued the determined defending to keep the teams level. Despite conceding an early goal, Harvesters responded well and pushed forward in numbers. Within 5 minutes they had equalised. They now put pressure on the Panthers as they chased another goal.
In the 2nd quarter the Panthers continued to put pressure on Harvesters and started to dominate the game. EW started in goal, and found that she had very little to do in this quarter – early on, she read the game well and came off her line to close down an attacker forcing them to shoot wide. With FH tirelessly running between attack and defence, the Panthers saw much more of the ball. DG played in an advanced position, which forced the opposition to defend deep – which further made space for the attackers to run at goal. PH and LD both made several solo runs at goal – they were clearly enjoying the space that opened up. When they were through on goal, each of them fired home deadly accurate shots that hit the back of the net as LD scored one goal, and set up another for PH who scored 2, giving the team a comfortable lead. IW found herself in a good position on a number of occasions and was unlucky not to have also added her name to the scoresheet.
In the 3rd quarter, IW continued to trouble the Harvesters defence with her positioning and runs into space. She constantly hassled the opposition and refused to give them space. The pressure paid off – she made a tackle in the Harvester’s box and passed the ball into space. The ball found its way in the path of EW, who quickly ran onto and hit the ball with a pinpoint shot that left the goalkeeper with no chance of stopping it. DG did not stop running in this quarter and latched onto a number of long balls from defence, which gave her some goalscoring opportunities. The Harvester’s defence was able to quickly recover, and the opposition made some last-minute tackles. PH was always on hand to win the ball back – she ran up and down the pitch and was involved in each attacking and defensive move. LD added another two goals – she made the most of a relatively short pitch as she won the ball deep and ran towards the Harvester. One goal in particular saw her receive a pass from PH, then cut inside the defence on the left before taking her shot. At the opposite end, FH made several brilliant, and brave, tackles. She jumped into to snatch the ball from the attacker’s feet, and when it did bounce free, she just as quickly pounced onto the loose ball.
In the final quarter FH remained in goal. She carried on where she left off in the 3rd quarter – she made save after save. As the Panthers moved forward in numbers it created space for the opposition. The Harvesters were also afforded an extra player on the field of play – which meant they had the numerical advantage. But FD used her arms, legs, feet and head to keep them from scoring. EW, PH and LD were unstoppable in attack – when one of them had the ball the others rallied forward, finding space and calling for the ball. LD added another 2 goals to her tally, taking her to 5 for the day. One with an assist from IW, the other a fine solo effort - as soon as she got the ball she worked her way forward, taking on defenders and striking the ball beyond the goalkeeper. IW and DG both shared forward responsibility in this quarter. Again, their movement off the ball created the space for the players in midfield to press forward.
The Harvester’s scored a late consolation goal with a few minutes to go.
Another great result for the Panthers this week. The small pitch meant it was a very congested game, and having less substitutes added a further challenge. As always, they stood up to the task at hand and got on with it. Each week the team is getting better and better.
POTM was PH – she played her first game with this team today and really enjoyed herself. It can’t be easy to play alongside unfamiliar faces. She did not let this bother her as she put on a great performance and bagged a few goals too.
TOTW is FH – she was unbeatable in goal today. Her determination to get the ball, but whatever means, really frustrated the opposition today. A first-class goalkeeping display!