08/10/23 : Girls Under 14 vs Trojans (EH Cup)

Away - Trojans HC, Stoneham Lane, SO50 9HT


Lost 1 - 2

Gutsy performance from a bare 11 including reserve keeper!

An away trip to Trojans is tough at the best of times, but with school trips abroad, fine weather for one last sailing expedition of the year and various other teenage events getting in the way, turning up with the bare eleven made it a daunting trip.

A Cup round always adds a bit of tension to this fixture, it also added a considerable delay with two of the earlier matches going to shuffle shootouts. Caitlin and Amelia D drew straws to determine who would pad up in the first half, and Caitlin won the honours, although I think her (lack of) speed in putting the kit on probably made going first a wise move. 

With Trojans' A team having a R1 bye in the Cup, we were expecting a few of their Tier 1 players to drop down but kudos to the opposition, that wasn't the case and this was a fair contest from the start. The pre-game message was 'get it wide, get it forward and put pressure on them', and this served us well. A little bit of chaos can work wonders and the big, scary Trojans players suddenly weren't so scary, they made some mistakes just like the rest of us, so take them on and keep going.

Wonderful contributions across the field - Arabella & Kate constantly on the move and terrorising the defence; Evie repeatedly making incisive runs in the unfamiliar attacking midfield role; Ellie constantly driving up the right wing and then working back to defend after a turnover; Issy and Phoebe working hard as defensive screens, protecting the defence and controlling the midfield zone; Nicole, holding strong on the busy left side under constant pressure from their attacks down the right, making some crucial tackles and disrupting the play; Amelia A & Lizzy being rock solid at the back, giving the attackers little space to work in and constantly clearing wide to safety.

The keepers need their own mention:

Amelia D playing left wing for a half and not looking out of place - including one excellent 'shadowing' run where she put just enough pressure on the winger to fumble the ball over the endline without getting eliminated or committing a foul. And then in goal in the second half, having to hold together a very tired team against an opposition with a couple of subs.

Caitlin, captain for the day as the only U14 from last season, made some key saves in the first half to enter the main break at 0-0. She then went to left wing, linking well down that side and providing some drive forward (not quite so keen to run back and defend though). Her experience as keeper served her well - where's the hardest place to defend for a keeper? The back post... Free hit to Havant, just outside the circle. Ball passed to Evie in a little space at the top of the D, works her way into the circle, takes the shot, it bobbles and bounces, probably just going wide, and in steps Caitlin at the back post to tap it in, from about a foot off the ground! The crowd in the stand were in amazement, they weren't even sure who scored as Caitlin for some reason didn't celebrate (a GK scoring should mean running a lap, shirt over the head, a slide into the corner on a water-based astro... or something!)... if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I'd never have believed it. :)

Havant took the lead 1-0 but were starting to tire on a particularly warm October day. Constant pressure on our defence led to a couple of lapses in concentration - rigidly sticking to your own player to mark only works if everyone else is doing it too. Two long corners, immediately after short corners, left players out of position without recognising the signals - both times the player taking the free hit was allowed to walk straight into the circle and shoot. Someone has to stand in front of the ball. The ensuing play turned into a goal on both occasions and unfortunately, the game flipped within a few minutes to a 2-1 Trojans lead, which they held until the final whistle, despite some last-ditch efforts pushing forward in the closing minutes. 

Must give a special mention to Phoebe for refusing to come off and leave us a player short despite feeling faint in the warm weather.

A shame to hit the front and not be able to hold on, but an INCREDIBLE effort all the same. Every player stepped up a level on what we'd seen from them before, with a couple of subs we'd probably have won that match. Onwards and upwards into the Plate competition for the Cup.

Special thanks to the raucous and unrelenting support on the hill from the parents/grandparents/siblings and canine supporters!



Players' players as voted by the opposition:

Arabella and Evie.





Caitlin Ferguson 1

Player of the Match

Arabella Huxham
Evie Walsh