But Coach Clare Ormerod really fired up the squad by letting them know that "our ability and skill is fixed for now, the only thing we can alter going into the game is our attitude, our desire to win and our fight for every 50/50 ball."
The match, however, started rather tentatively and it was clear the nerves were getting to the ladies in blue. For the first 10 minutes Chiswick spent the majority defending their own half, and seemed happy to play for a draw. Goal keeper Alice Taylor-Bennett kept the girls in the game with several brilliant saves, many in which she ran out to meet the approaching striker. With plenty of support from the sidelines and having not conceded under the pressure, the ladies in blue finally started to play with some belief. Angela Li made a fantastic break down the midfield and played nicely up to the forwards. Kate Cato cutting in from the right made a lovely drive into the circle, finding an oppositions foot and creating an opportunity through a penalty corner. As our first real chance to score, Chiswick were understandably excited.Yssie Richards came up from defence and pushed out to Chloe Hole, who stick stopped for Kate Cato. A slightly wide strike was saved by the keeper, but found Yssie on the left post, who with complete composure pushed the ball in round the keeper. GOAL!!!! Yssie’s first ever senior gaol couldn’t have come at a better time. The whole squad was beaming with pride, and started the match again with determination to keep the lead. Despite the determination, the match was nowhere near one-sided. Staines made several attacking plays, and kept our defence under constant pressure. Chiswick found themselves defending at least four penalty corners, but with excellent running out from Angela Li and Alex Joss, the 4s managed to defend the goal successfully.
The half-time talk focused primarily on attitude - we had to stop acting like the underdogs and believe we could win this match! The second half saw growing support from the sidelines, players from the ladies 2s and 5s were present along with partners, in-laws and Dads. It was a great atmosphere, but you could still sense the pressure the team felt of maintaining the slender 1-0 lead. Emma Milton led by example through the midline, pressing every opposition hit out, turning the ball over and running the ball up the wing. Carina Carter and the rest of the midfield joined in with some excellent marking and really putting the pressure on with calling and aggression even from concussed Stacey Nevin linking up with newbie Renee de Lepper on the left. Debutant Grace Glendinning did a great job of finding space and almost scored another goal with a breakaway. Kate Cato also had a good chance saved by the keeper after some excellent play from Aussie Sophie Green. Controversy ensued when a Chiswick goal was disallowed but it really showed the effective pressure the Ladies 4s were applying to Staines. The oppo weren't giving up though and right to the very last minute they kept the attacks coming. On the final whistle Chiswick conceded a penalty corner and the team and supporters were really feeling the tension. Luckily the defence managed to rumble another Staines play and the game was finally over. Chiswick had held on to a well-fought 1-0 win and improved throughout the game.
Final score: PHC Chiswick Ladies 4s - 1, Staines Ladies 3s - 0
MoM: Chloe Hole for a brilliant fighting attitude and strength through the midfield,
DoD: Angela Li for making Laura Murphy strip on the sideline to borrow her skort.
WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!