Wargrave Reserves 1 Barton Rovers Royals 0

Wargrave Ladies Reserves faced Barton Rovers at the Wargrave Rec. on a clear day with a bitter wind blowing from one end of the pitch to the other.
The first five minutes were quite even as both teams battled to retain possession in the midfield. Then, seven minutes in, Juliet closed down a clearance by the Barton right back, deflecting it back over her head. She ran onto the deflected ball and in the clear had time to look up, spot Hannah and Izzie flying into the box and send over a measured cross. The Barton centre half tried desperately to cut it out but the ball deflected off the outside of her boot and into the top corner of her own net. Juliet of course claimed the assist.
Five minutes later, Izzy cut in on the right and fed a through ball to Hannah who was being marked closely by Barton’s big powerful central defender. Hannah cleverly let the ball slide off the outside of her boot, then turned and she was through on goal. Inside the box, she shot low and hard but the Barton Keeper got a palm to the ball deflecting it just wide of the post. From the resulting corner, Bella sent over a perfect ball right onto the penalty spot where Hannah met it unopposed but headed it over the bar. Wargrave had Barton pegged back in their half but dogged defensive play stymied nearly every attack Wargrave made. Twenty six minutes into the match, Barton made their first proper foray into Wargrave’s half where a long ball wasn’t headed by the Wargrave defence, it sailed over as they ducked and the Barton defender was through and onto it. Bella anticipated the threat and cut across to move the striker right and cause her shot to sail wide of the goal. With Barton pressing and intercepting Wargrave’s passing game, Annie sent a long high ball from well in her own half over the whole Barton team. Hannah read the ball well, ran onto it and found herself one-on-one with the Barton Keeper in the box, tried to shoot past her but saw the ball zip agonizingly just wide of the post.
Wargrave with most of the possession should have been further ahead but at the break only held onto a fragile one goal lead.
Wargrave didn’t start the second half well and gave the ball away continuously. The only saving grace was that Annie, Bella, Ruby and Phoebe cut out any forward attacks Barton tried to mount. After fifteen minutes, Annie moved up the right flank and fed a perfectly weighted ball over the Barton left back which Tess ran onto, in to the box but unfortunately rifled her shot into the side netting. The only other highlight of the half occurred when Ceri, who had moved to the right wing and was battling energetically to constantly win the ball, dribbled the ball skilfully past the Barton right back, ran into the box and shot low and hard, forcing a diving save by the Barton keeper who was able to get her fingers to it to push it past the post.
A very average performance  by Wargrave who held on grimly to a tenuous one goal lead for virtually all of the game but were never really threatened by Barton due to resolute defending.
Player of the match went to Bella who marshalled the backline masterfully, anticipated any forward moves by Barton and always won the ball, preventing all attacks then passing accurately and calmly to set up another forward move by Wargrave’s midfield.