The ladies 4s knew they were in for a tough match this week as they were facing the team currently in fourth place. The girls in blue aimed to keep the intensity up all match, not only to put the pressure on the oppo, but in attempts to keep warm in the 2 degree weather. In a nail-biting first half the Duchesses saw a lot of the ball and spent far too much time in Chiswick's D. Several break away plays, and five conceded short corners were all dealt with skilfully by the defence team of Yssie Richards, Alex Joss, Clare Omerod, Jen Holman & Sinead McGeever with goalkeeper Alice Taylor-Bennett. Several shots were stopped just short of the line, but Alice Taylor-Bennett also displayed her confidence by coming out to meet dangerous attackers closer to the edge of the D. While the defence were working hard there was also action up at the other end of the pitch. The 4s had some good opportunities on goal and a couple near misses. However, we were allowing the Duchesses to dictate the game and not playing as fluidly as we had the week before. This made the team tense up and silly passes were made.
Going into half time at 0-0 the team spoke very honestly about the problems - we were letting them put us under pressure and not focusing enough on retaining possession and waiting for the right opportunity. The key thing to address was confidence -and the team went out for the second half knowing that if we stepped up our game we had a good chance to turn the match around. Straight from the whistle the fours were vastly improved - playing with real attacking intent and with a lot more composure at the back. Not a single short corner was conceded in the second half. The deadlock was broken about ten minutes into the half with a great goal under pressure from co-captain Gemma McIntosh, the ball was nicely worked up from the top of the D by Laura Bryant who spotted Gemma on the right post, passed the ball, and it was slotted behind the keeper. Unfortunately, the Duchesses came straight back at Chiswick and shortly afterwards equalised at 1-1, a real crushing moment that could have sent Chiswick back to the nerves and tension of the first half. Luckily the whole team stepped up and especially the midfield combo of Emma Milton, Stacey Nevin and Sophie Green brought some real pace to the game. Grace Glendinning did the team a huge favour by scoring to take the game to 2-1. This was probably the second most celebrated goal of the season for the 4s! The cheers from the sideline supporters could be heard miles away. You could still sense the tension on pitch however, the ladies 4s had let a lead slip away before and this time they were determined not to do it again. Chiswick held possession as much as possible and utilised Chloe Hole as a consistent pivot point allowing the ball to be switched across the pitch. It was through this role that Chloe Hole found Laura Bryant. Chloe Hole dribbled the ball in from the 25 line, and crossed it to an awaiting Laura Bryant, who skilfully controlled the ball and smashed it behind the keeper, putting Chiswick 3-1 up. With this lead, the ladies played with determination and fought to the final whistle. The ladies walked off ecstatic with their ability to turn the game around and are happy to retain the top of the league spot.
Special thanks to umpire Georgie Wilson.
MoM: Stacey Nevin -was won for a fantastic and ferocious game, playing everywhere and covering a lot of ground with real determination.
DoD: Sophie Green –who reversed over the keepers kit in the car park.
Goals: Gemma McIntosh, Grace Glendinning, Laura Bryant