After a long Christmas break the ladies 4s were feeling suitably nervous ahead of their first game of 2015 and were worried that all the holiday mince pies would leave them a bit sluggish on pitch. The game did get off to a slow start, but the fours shouldn’t have been worried as they soon hit their stride and were passing and moving into space to create several early opportunities. It was because of this successful passing that the girls in blue were able to get the early lead. The ball was played nicely up from the defence, through Sophie Green to Kate Cato up the right wing. After a clean pick up, Cato neatly crossed the ball to Fay Pullin who made a well-timed drive into the attacking D, before passing it across the keeper to Gemma McIntosh, waiting on the left post. Mcintosh kept her cool and calmply put the ball behind the keeper to put Chiswick up 1-0 just 8 minutes into the game.
Spurred on by plenty of side line support, it wasn’t long until the girls in blue scored again. This time from a break away play down the left wing where Kate Cato and Grace Glendinning went two on two with only one defender and a goalie to beat. Glandinning’s first shot was saved, but as she calmly collected the rebound she was able to take a second attempt and this time found the back of the goal. While the score line was firmly in their favour the Chiswick girls were in no way finding this game easy. The defence were under constant pressure and as the NPL ladies were individually very skilful the defence found man marking tightly the only way of keeping them at bay. Several goal line saves by keeper Alice Taylor-Bennett kept NPL scoreless in the first half, but Chiswick knew they were going to have to keep the intensity up as NPL showed no sign of easing off after the break.
Into the second half and Chiswick were feeling the pressure of the NPL attack. Several break away plays left the defence scrambling to clear the ball, but they managed it and it didn’t take too long for Chiswick to regain their flow. With the ball moved smoothly up pitch by the midfield combo of Chloe Hole and Stacey Nevin the forwards had many attacking chances. A drive and pass into the goal from Fay Pullin lead to Chiswick’s third goal. Gemma McIntosh’s first shot was saved, but with the keeper committed to a dive, the rebound found McIntosh’s stick again and she lifted it up and over the keeper into the net. Starting strong at the restart Chiswick tried to keep the intensity up and build on this 3-0 lead. However when a wayward stick struck Stacey Nevin she was instantly taken out of the game and Chiswick were left without a sub in the midline. The girls in blue kept up the fight however and when an opposition foot was struck in the D the ladies had another chance with a penalty corner. The injection went slightly left and while a strike from Grace Glendinning was planned, it was Kate Cato who found herself with a shot. Her initial effort was blocked but with composure, Cato scooped up the lose ball and fired a shot into the left corner of the goal taking Chiswick 4-0 up. The lead was looking healthy, but NPL were incredibly determined and with another break away play they found a Chiswick foot forcing a penalty corner at the opposing end. After a bit of a scramble Chiswick were beat and the ball dribbled in to put NPL on the scoreboard.
The final whistle blew and the girls in blue walked away happy with a 4-1 win, more than enough to keep them top of the table.
Man of the match - Gemma McIntosh
Dick of the day - Wrong pitch Renee De Lepper