For the last 15 weeks of competition the Ladies 4s have been at the top of their league, and with the final match they just needed one more win to see them take the title. For the first time all season though, the ladies only had a team of 11 as illness plagued the girls at the last moment. However this wasn’t going to dampen spirits as ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Shake it off’ blasted from their changing room the girls were pumped and looking to end their season with a bang.
The match started well with Chiswick holding possession and driving in to the attacking D with some lovely crosses from right midfielder Sophie Green. The ladies may have been taking things slightly for granted, as it wasn’t long until Imperial had a break away play, with the girls in blue on the back foot, Imperial went one on one with the Chiswick keeper Alice Taylor-Bennett. Alice Taylor-Bennett did brilliantly and managed to clear the ball, however it was picked up by Imperial yet again, and in a scramble in the D an unlucky deflection off a Chiswick stick found its way into the goal and Chiswick went 1-0 down. The girls kept their heads high, but simply couldn’t find a way back into the game before the half time whistle went.
Co-captain Chloe Hole has been known for some rousing half time talks, but she needed something special to turn this game around. After talking about holding positioning, making the passes cleaner and sticking tighter to their ‘play makers’ Chloe Hole then made each and every player look each other in the eyes and reminded them that they are doing this as a team. Some thought she had lost her marbles and the pressure of the game had gotten to her, the others were inspired and went out with new passion in the second half.
Chiswick played like a table topping team in the second half. Right from the first whistle the girls put the pressure on Imperial. An early penalty corner wasn’t converted, but with the amount of time Chiswick were spending in the attacking D, they knew the equaliser wasn’t far away. The brilliant left pairing of Stacey Nevin and Grace Glendinning, which later was coined ‘the dream team’, linked up beautifully to create several runaway plays. It was from one of these plays that Chiswick finally found the goal. A beautiful cross/shot from Grace Glendinning was sneakily poached by Gemma McIntosh who was waiting on the right post, levelling the score at 1-1. This was the boost the girls needed. The mid line combo of Sophie Green, Chloe Hole and Stacey Nevin worked at 100% to drive the play up field and Chiswick quickly found themselves on the attack again. Cat Jackman proved herself a steady distributer up front and found Gemma McIntosh in the D, who this time scored off a genuine shot on goal, giving Chiswick the lead for the first time at 2-1. It was clear Chiswick were looking to increase this lead as they pushed the play up field, and this time it was Sophie Green who found herself with the ball in the D. After beating out one defender, Sophie Green then calmly took the ball around the keeper, putting it in the bottom right corner to bring Chiswick to 3-1. While the score was very much in Chiswick’s favour the pressure was certainly not lifted, and Imperial continued to attack. However, the defence combination of Jenni Holman, Renee De Lepper, Clare Ormerod and Yssie Richards kept any counter attack at bay. Yssie Richards played with maturity well beyond her years as she stepped into the role of sweeper and tidied up any loose play with ease, leaving goal keeper Alice Taylor-Bennett with a lot less action in the second half. With 10 minutes still to play, Chiswick found themselves on the attack again, Gemma McIntosh managed to convert a cross ball from Sophie Green, who less than 3 minutes later managed to convert another herself taking Chiswick 5-1 up.
With a penalty corner awarded just as the final whistle blew, Chiswick’s defender and birthday girl Jenni Holman stepped looking for her first goal of her Chiswick career. The injection from Yssie Richards came out to meet Jenni Holman, who was far too excited having the opportunity of a shot on goal that she ran into meet the ball. As the team yelled for her to take the ball outside of the D, she was unable to get a shot away, however she did find another foot and was given another penalty corner. On the retake, Jenni Holman yet again met the ball inside the circle. It was taken back out, but her shot went narrowly wide, and the final whistle blew. This didn’t bother the girls however, as they won and had finished TOP OF THE LEAGUE. With ‘We are the Champions’ being belted by team boyfriend on the sideline, the Ladies 4s couldn’t wipe the smiles from their faces. They had done it. They won the league.
Goal Scorers: Gemma McIntosh (3), Sophie Green (2)
Man of the Match: Stacey Nevin
Dick of the Day: Jenni Holman
WHO WON THE LEAGUE? FOURS!