The first team travelled up the M3 for their second league game yesterday against newly-promoted Eversley & California Ladies. The reserves had recently played Eversley in a cup final back in May, so we knew we needed to turn up to get the points.
The game started hectic from both sides, with both defences being called upon to stifle any attacks. Vernon, Davies and Yeo, playing behind Benjamin and Lewis were up to the task so that anything getting through to the assured Clarke were half chances and a little speculative.
We generated some great opportunities throughout the first half with some good footwork through the midfield between Lewis, Lonnen-Miles, Benjamin, Shaw and Stocker. Shaw hit the post, Eden hit the post, Folkenstern hit the post, Benjamin had a fantastic header cleared from the line, Lonnen-Miles through 1 on 1, forcing the Eversley GK to make a great save down to the left to push it wide. It seemed we would have to work extra hard to put the ball in the back of the net.
Finally at the 25 minute mark Lonnen-Miles put a great corner in landing on top of the GK, who misjudged her catch, dropping the ball to a waiting Brewer who was able to tap the ball in 1-0.
Clarke, Vernon, Davies and Yeo at the back continued to fend off the quick Eversley counter attacks to see us through to HT. 1-0.
We started the second half much better and kept the ball moving, from one side to the other looking for a way through the deepening line of the Eversley defence.
Some strict offsides from the linesman meant playing through balls down the middle was difficult and attacking out wide was the easiest way forward.
50 minutes in, Lonnen-Miles had had enough of trying to break through the 10 Eversley players and about 35 yards out, from a great Folkenstern pass, decided to turn and hit a strong left-foot shot, which surprised many by slotting into the bottom corner of the goal. 2-0.
There were a little flurry of chances for the home team, with a good cross from the right tipped towards the back post by the back-peddling Clarke, but Asira came to the rescue with a calm goal line clearance under pressure. It was a good reminder that teams don’t give you points in this league. We were a little shaky, but this was a new back line and GK combo, so to be expected. Perhaps less expected was GK Clarke, largely comfortable, not hesitating to challenge herself and get a save on the camera when she got the opportunity and passed the ball out to the oncoming Eversley striker. Luckily, Clarke is an excellent shotstopper and was able to make a smart save of the resulting shot to keep the clean sheet. No harm done.
We continued dominant in the second half. Some great football from the defence through the midfield allowed us to keep creating chances. A great run from Eden down the left side, cut in and saw her shot fall marginally past the right post. A cut back to the edge of the box to Hughes saw her hit a wild shot high and wide. A great ball through to Shaw from Brewer saw the keeper make a great save as she parried the ball into the air and managed to catch it over her head before it fell into the net. Lonnen-Miles continued some great shots from distance to keep the Eversley defence on their toes. Asira and Hughes worked well down the right-hand side to create chances but the Eversley defence worked in packs to make it difficult to breakthrough. A pullback from Lewis to Shaw saw Shaw hit the ball over the crossbar.
70 minutes and despite spending the majority of the game in the Eversley half, we couldn’t seem to find the net. Finally, a short corner between Eden and Lonnen-Miles led to a great cross into the box to find a Tilly head waiting to guide the ball into the net. 3-0
Folkenstern also managed to put the ball in the net shortly after from a Shaw square ball, but the linesman flagged them offside.
The defence worked hard to keep any attacking threats out, played the ball calmly along the backline and allowed us to maintain our dominant performance. A great team effort.
Thanks to Eversley and California for being gracious hosts and playing the game in good spirits. Best of luck in future games, and we look forward to hosting you on the south coast.
Player of the match: Becky Yeo
Managers Player: Rosie Eden
Rory: Becky Yeo