The reserves welcomed Rushmoor to Chapel gate for our 4th league game of the season.
Having been involved in some very close games with Rushmoor in the season our 1st got promotion we knew it was going to be a difficult game.
However, we got off to a great start, Roe drawing a great save from the Rushmoor GK after only 4 minutes.
Some smart defending blocked another Roe attempt 2 minutes later as she volleyed a rebound goalwards.
We were dominating the game in the early exchanges with Norman marshalling the defence to good effect to stop the quick breaks and Roe and Mosley controlling attacking possession through the middle. Chances were being created regularly but none that overly threatened the Rushmoor GK.
We finally broke the deadlock at 18 minutes, Curtin crossed to Mosley, she was denied by the GK at the first attempt but was on hand to tuck in the rebound for 1-0. There was no doubt we deserved the lead but Rushmoor were dangerous on the break with considerable pace in their attack.
Mosley and Roe were regularly getting chances around the Rushmoor box but constantly under pressure they could only hit the GK. Just before the half hour mark both Mosley and Roe had good chances saved.
We were to be punished a couple of minutes later, a quick break, a quick one two, and it was 1-1. Owen doing well to get a hand on it but it hit the post and rolled across the line.
A couple of mistakes at the back for both sides almost saw the lead taken. White with a great chance for us. As we cleared a Rushmoor corner long, the player at the back misjudged the ball and white found herself clear, overly concerned about the player chasing her back and checking her shoulder she could only drag the shot wide. We then made our own mistake at the back but luckily they opted for a shot from distance and Owen was able to easily collect it.
Roe had two more good chances in first half injury time, the first hitting the GK at a tight angle and the second going wide after being put through by Dennis.
Despite dominating large periods of the game and having considerably more chances it was level. Rushmoor were making life hard at the back and were so quick when they did break they were always going to cause us problems so we knew we needed a lead.
The second half started similarly to how the first ended, us with a lot of possession but barely threatening the Rushmoor GK and Rushmoor breaking quickly and with numbers when they had the chance.
The first good chance of the half fell to Rushmoor, Norman’s clearance header hit the back of their striker and Owen had to make a superb save to keep it level from the close range volley.
This then set up a bit of basketball match for 15 minutes.
Bradford put in a superb cross from the right but Symes was only able to touch it back across goal on the stretch.
Rushmoor then broke on us but fired safely wide, then a minute later a good cross from our left gave them a header from close range which clattered Owens crossbar before bouncing to safety, although the flag was up against the striker.
Mosley found Symes on the hour mark with a great ball but she fired over.
It appeared that whichever team took their chance would likely win. It was Rushmoor, 70 mins on the clock and from our corner they won the ball before putting through their striker. There was no catching her as she ran through and calmly slotted past Owen. 1-2
The frustration of our wasted chances and the way we conceded seemed to take the wind completely out of us and 3 minutes later it was 1-3. The Rushmoor striker sprinting down the left wing before crossing to an unmarked player who fired in from 12yds.
It was frustrating but not unexpected, the players wanted to play better teams and we knew as we worked our way through the leagues the opposition would punish us more. A similar thing had happened to us the week before as well, when you’re on top you have to take your chances.
We kept working hard, and eventually we would find a way past the resolute Rushmoor defence again as White reminded everyone putting the ball out of the GKs reach is easier than trying to put her in the goal with it. Roe playing ball in to Bentley who laid it off for White and she was able to fire into the far corner on the 88th to set up a nervy finish. 2-3
We couldn’t find the final chance required and Rushmoor took all three points.
While the squad was left deflated it’s actually a credit to the team that after 2 promotions in 2 seasons we are disappointed with ourselves for dropping points against some of Hampshire 1s most experienced teams and there was plenty of positives to find in our build play.
?Players player went to Kitty Norman who did a superb job of marshalling the defence.
?Managers player went to Liana Sims for another superb defensive display.
?Rory went to Lucia White for checking her shoulder when through on goal instead of kicking the ball in the back of the net