Tilehurst Ladies 5 Wargrave Ladies Reserves 0 Berks & Bucks Cup

On a sunny, calm winter’s afternoon, Wargrave Ladies Reserves travelled to Linear Park in West Reading to play Tilehurst Ladies from Division One, in the second round of the League Cup.
Having let in simple goals at corners in previous matches, Wargrave had trained to improve defending them. This was challenged three minutes into the game when from a Tilehurst corner, the ball wasn’t cleared by Wargrave and the Tilehurst striker was first to it, her stabbed shot deflectling off the post for a goal kick. For the next ten minutes, the match was fairly even until a neat ball popped over the Wargrave defensive line was pounced onto by the Tilehurst striker who ran into the box and one-on-one with Lucy slotted it into the net only to look up to see the flag being held out for off-side. Two minutes later, in her own box, a Wargrave defender tried to dribble around a Tilehurst striker who picked it off her boots and knocked it into the net. Simple defensive error.
From the restart, Wargrave moved the ball well through midfield, Claudia beating a defender to send an accurate pass to Hannah on the edge of the Tilehurst box who turned and got her shot away but it flew just wide. A minute later, Tilehurst were on the attack again, driving into the box and unleashing a shot which Lucy dived to push wide for a corner. From the corner, the ball popped out of Lucy’s gloves and unfortunately fell to the feet of the Tilehurst striker who tapped it in for their second goal.
Wargrave’s defence were having to bear up to a number of attacks and four minutes later, the ball ran to a Wargrave defender in her box, she swung to clear it, missed the ball and as it ran past the Tilehurst winger was first to it and shot across the goal to put the ball into the far corner.
Five minutes later, Tilehurst attacked down the right, the winger fizzing in a dangerous cross. Lucy tried to intercept but the ball fell out of her gloves to the feet of the Tilehurst striker who poked it into the net from close range.
– Wargrave were a bit stunned having played reasonably well against a strong team but found themselves four nil down after letting in four very sloppy goals.
Convinced they could get goals back in the second half, Wargrave started brightly and Hannah picking the ball up in the centre, sent it wide to Izzie who crossed low where Juliet met it on the run in the Tilehurst box but scuffed her shot and the keeper saved. A minute later Bella sent a free kick over the Tilehurst back-line and Izzy was on to it first, one-on-one with the keeper putting it past her into the goal but turned to see she had been flagged off-side. It was very marginal! Wargrave looked to be turning things around and making more of the attacks. Four minutes later, Juliet found Ceri on the left who dribbled past the last defender and unleashed a powerful shot which forced an outstanding diving one handed save to prevent the goal. From the resulting corner, the ball dropped to Hannah whose shot bounced back off the post and was cleared. Keeping up the pressure, Wargrave made another neat passing move through midfield and found Ceri on the left. She then made a fantastic drive up the pitch taking the ball past three midfielders and a defender like a hot knife through butter. Into the box, she shot low but again the keeper was able to make a save. For the next fifteen minutes the ball travelled from end to end, neither keeper challenged until Tilehurst’s skilful left wing cut the ball back to the powerful central defender who let rip with a shot that nearly took Lucy’s hand off but she was able to fist it over the bar. With five minutes to go, after a period when Wargrave had again most of the possession and were making a lot of attacking moves, Tilehurst broke down the right and sent in a cross which a Wargrave defender tried to stab away but it caught the outside of her boot and spiralled over Lucy and into her own net.

A much better performance by Wargrave in the second half where they held their own against opposition from a division above. The score didn’t really represent how even the game was but it showed that against a good team if you make defensive errors you’ll be punished for them.
Player of the match went to Juliet who as captain led the team with a display of enthusiasm and skill and was involved in numerous attacks as well as always getting back to help defend.