Wargrave Ladies Reserves faced top of the table Kingsclere Ladies at the Wargrave Rec. on a bright day with a strong wind blowing across the pitch straight from the Arctic.
Wargrave started brightly, passing well with Tessa on the right sending Izzy on several runs up the wing who beat the left back and sent in dangerous crosses which Katie and Claudia couldn’t quite get to before the Kingsclere defenders. Four minutes into the match, a Kingsclere back sent a long clearance for their fast striker to run onto. Mary kept up with her well and blocked her shot, deflecting it out for a corner. The resulting corner was swung in and a Kingsclere mid-fielder got to it without a challenge to head it in a high arc over everyone and drop just under the bar into the Wargrave goal.
Five minutes later, Tilly headed a clearance down to Katie Edwards on the edge of the Kingsclere box who cut the ball onto her right foot but sent the shot sailing over the bar. The play was swinging from one end to the other with Wargrave structuring neat passing moves and Kingsclere launching huge clearances down field with the wind behind them. One of these bounced over the Wargrave defender and was picked up by Kingsclere’s right wing. She sent in a good cross which Becca got to first and palmed down. A Kingsclere striker reacted first but even though she scuffed her shot she was able to see the ball spin deceptively past the Wargrave defenders and roll slowly over the line near the right post.
Wargrave turned up the wick for the second part of the half and in the thirtieth minute Izzy dragged her defender wide allowing an open channel for Tessa to run with the ball into the box but shoot just wide. Five minutes before half time, Hannah H received the ball went to turn one way and then turned the other, skilfully losing her marker and putting herself through on goal but didn’t get the weight behind the shot and the keeper was able to make a save.
HALF TIME – Wargrave with a good deal of possession wasn’t turning it into meaningful attacks and found themselves on the back foot having let in two early goals they should have easily prevented.
Wargrave started the second half well and applied the pressure but Kingsclere’s defence was resolute and Wargrave had few opportunities on goal despite spending a great deal of the half in Kingsclere’s half of the pitch. After twenty minutes, Tilly won the ball in midfield and sent a measured ball through to Katie Edwards who turned and found Izzy on the right. She ran with the ball to the edge of the box and unleashed a looping shot over the keeper which looked to be dropping in but hit the bar. Ten minutes later, a cross from Ceri on the left found Tilly in the Kingsclere box but just as she was about to shoot her foot was clipped from behind, she stumbled and missed the ball. Penalty? The Ref never saw it. Wargrave were moving the ball around well and battling fiercely in mid-field, however, it always seemed to end up with Kingsclere just getting to the ball and then walloping it down field. With two minutes to go Wargarve were awarded a free kick just outside the Kingsclere box. Tess stepped forward to take it. She sent a stinging shot over the Kingsclere defensive wall but directly at the keeper who could only palm it up high in the air. Hannah H reacted first to get to the ball as it came back down and popped it in the net at close range.
From the restart Wargrave tried valiantly to grab an equalizer but Kingsclere caught them on the break and attacked, grabbing a corner in the last minute of the game. It was swung in and again met by a Kingsclere forward first whose header bounced off the bar.
A good performance by Wargrave against a very good Kingsclere side with a strong defence. Wargrave passed well and overall had the higher percentage of possession but couldn’t quite recover from giving away two sloppy goals in the first half and finally scored too late to grab an equalizer.
Player of the match went to Hannah H who after coming on half way through the first half, battled hard in midfield, winning lots of tackles and using her skill to dribble past and out-turn the opposition to start numerous dangerous attacks. Often first to the breakdown, she pounced on the saved free kick at the end of the game to score Wargrave’s goal.