US Portsmouth vs BSLFC Res
Can you do it on a wet Tuesday in Stoke? Well, I’m not sure we will find out, but we can do it on a horrid Sunday in Pompey. Zero hospitality from the opposition only added to the occasion.
On reflection, it wasn’t a great game, and most of the players came away feeling like they didn’t represent themselves well. I can’t work out if this is just nonsense or testimony to the character of this squad. The day was about character, not pretty football. This was day measured in who had the least bad performances, not who was great. It is an often overlooked distinction.
32 players braved the elements to represent BSLFC this weekend, something that I imagine is pipe-dreams to most clubs across the country. Why? Take a moment to think about this! Maybe because 35+ players have represented the first team this year – wow. Maybe because Ricky and myself have different approaches to how we manage so the ups and downs are levelled out, or maybe because good people attract good people 💛🖤
With this in mind, I prepared for the game against an in-form US Portsmouth by informing everyone that regardless of form, all would be trusted to play 45/60mins or more. Away games like this are not the day to be drenched on the bench. Basically, regardless of the opposition, we have the quality and we can experiment and rotate yet still take the points. This is a great position to be in.
The highlight of the game from a club perspective was the halftime KO. The 1-1 first half ended square, Daisy B had released Rocket who hurried the keeper to spill, allowing a free shot from the edge of the box, followed by a retort of similar quality making it 1-1. The second half then started with Daisy T, Sassy & Sadie starting upfront, a combined age less than many still playing 🙈 including that of Debs who played for us last year 😂
Then, a moment to pause and savor when a poor clearance fell to Sadie, 16 years and 28 days, one-touch away from pressure, 2nd touch into the 18-yard box, 3rd touch was a firm shot into the far corner. Delightful. A record that may stand for at least 16 years and 28 days 🤷♂️
Other highlights included the return of Kiera after a nasty ankle injury, Jess after baba #2, and Hollie after a serious knee injury. The rain was just a side story to these narratives.
The result in the end was a 5-2 win , comfortable, but not the full story. US Portsmouth were threatening, and at 2-2 were the team looking closer to finding a winner. But it was Sports who found the 3rd and USP gave up. This led to an easy finish, where Rocket got her hat trick and returning Jess got one from distance.
Assists from Fabio, Hollie, and Rocket
Players player – Fabio who is in fine form
Managers player – Fabio who is in fine form 🤩
Rory split for Hollie and Jess for a painful yet comical moment where Jess’s through ball connected with Hollies trailing leg and she crumpled to the floor. Rumour has it that the resulting glare back at Jess was one that Jess herself will be proud of 😡
Woking Ladies vs BSLFC First Team Match Report
A delightful jaunt along the M3 through the aesthetic wonder which is Fleet Services, brought us to Woking College in Woking, against Woking Ladies believe it or not. Sports Ladies arrived in plenty of time to a pukka 3G facility, had a “world class warm-up” according to Marmion and were ready for battle.
Not everyone got the memo about the time though as Bournemouth Sports Ladies self appointed fitness guru (linesman) screeched into the car park at 13:58 exactly, giving him enough time to receive a flag from the referee and take a torrent of ‘friendly’ abuse from the ladies.
The 3G facility itself is surrounded on two sides and with the gale force winds blowing through, it evoked the sound of an approaching storm which as it turned out was an apt description of todays game. Sports resplendent in light blue and Woking in a sort of red white and black.
The game started with some lovely combinations between the defence and midfield with Yeo mopping up like an efficient roll of Plenty. Sports began to look very dangerous when we moved the ball wide quickly with Rosie showing to be a willing and elusive runner against Woking’s combative right back.
The first great chance for Sports came from a great Jas through ball to Rosie which dissected the defence like a surgeons scalpel providing a 1 on 1 with the keeper. Rosie opened her body a-la Thierry Henry but sadly missed the Va Va Voom as the ball struck the post and diverted wide.
There was some more neat build up play from Titch and Yumes as the battering ram of the Sports attack continued to beat at the door of Woking. The deadlock was broken with another great ball through to Rosie who received the ball in the centre of the Woking box and dispatched it home to make it 1-0.
Sports continued to be in the ascendancy in the first 30 mins of the half but started to narrow the play and like Derek zoolander seemed unable to turn left playing into a packed Woking right side who were beginning to display their resilience. Titch fashioned a great opportunity for herself when picking the ball up in the final third and letting fly from distance only to be denied by the Crossbar. There were a few signs that Woking were starting to get a foothold with some forays down our left flank which had been mostly snuffed out by Taylor like a candle in a chapel.
However one slight misjudgment with a square ball in our half surrendered the ball to Woking. A chipped ball to their right midfielder just eluded the head of Taylor and the right midfielder who wouldn’t have been out of place in the NBA, carried on into the box and swept the ball past Becky Clarke. 1-1!
Sports continued to play the ball on the deck but we narrowed like a mint matchmaker and our attacks were not presenting the same chances they had done earlier in the half. Following another attack from Woking down their right side, when closing down their striker Yeo was a touch late catching the player and conceding a free kick around 25 yards from goal on the far right side of the box. Over the din the Woking manager could be heard bellowing “how much do we want it” and want it they did as the free kick was delivered low into the Sports box and fired into the bottom corner with a smart first time finish past Becky in the Sports goal.
The sense of injustice and disappointment was palpable both on and off the pitch for Sports but there was plenty of time left to up the ante.
The half time whistle went and we retired to the changing rooms, with some long faces and mindsets which needed brightening. Marmion came into his own with another Churchillian speech to ensure the girls gave Woking a half to remember regardless of the final score. After prying myself off a somewhat frosty changing room bench, we made our way out for the second half.
The Sports line up started to take a different shape with the introduction of Daisy “Piledriver” Bradford, the ice cool Liane, Sunshine Demi and Poole’s very own Baywatch-er Kitty Norman!!
Sports started the second half well with some good play and positivity flowing through the attack. The big challenge was judging the pace of the ball due to the wind tunnel blowing from our half. This was evidenced after a cultured ball forward from Yeo was taken so fast by the elements that Usain Bolt on a Ducati super bike would have struggled to reach it. Rosie had switched to the right by this point yet like the feverish competitor she is could be found chasing the opponents across the other side of the pitch with some intensive pressing, winning balls and corners she had no right to win. Lauren was picking the ball up in dangerous positions trying her best to find a sight of goal.
When through on goal in the second half, the Woking centre back slipped over the ball in the box and batted the ball away with her hand, as Lauren was about to strike but no penalty was awarded. Sports continued to bash on the door whilst navigating the strong winds and our clearest sight of goal came when a cut back was destined for Stacey and her Lampard-Esque runs yet eluded her at the last with the goal gaping. With Sports in the ascendancy Woking players began to fall to the deck with alarming regularity as the time ticked away. Demi, Daisy and Rosie were making great progress down the flanks but the final ball was not falling to us in front of goal.
At this stage Marmion-Mourinho threw caution to the win with more Sports attackers introduced to the game as we were getting closer to restoring parity. This was achieved with a ball slid through to the rampaging, Tasmanian Devil Rosie on the right side who steered the ball back across the box. Lauren brought the ball down ready to swivel and shoot, but a toe from a Woking player poked the ball away to a waiting Liane around the penalty spot who displayed her poise and predatory instinct with a finish into the bottom corner in the 81st minute. The celebrations and feelings of relief were evident and I swear I saw Marmion do an Irish jig of some description.
We pushed for the winner with some great whipped corners into the box which needed a Sian or Kitty nearby to power the ball home. Sports had some dangerous corners to defend but thanks to Yeo and Becky’s marshalling the balls were cleared with aplomb.
The ref blew up as the points were shared giving us coaches a great deal of pride at the fight back and never say die attitude displayed by the Team. No-one wanted to endure a 90 min journey home after a defeat and the girls snatched a deserved draw with their performances.
Some bits to work on and some things to forget and exile to the back of our minds as we come to the business end of the season.
Players Player went to Rosie Eden for consistent hard work throughout the entire game.
Managers Player went to Kitty Norman for her calmness on the pitch and her positive vibes she brought to the team on a day when emotions were high.
Rory went to Lauren Brewer for her fantastic demonstration to the referee of the girls handball in the box, and for also taking forever to put her boot back on after the Woking defender had knocked it off.
BSLFC vs Woodley Ladies (league cup)
We welcomed Woodley to Chapel Gate for the first time as Woodley currently play a league above us. Although they currently sit bottom of the prem their recent form against teams we knew were very strong seemed to suggest this would not be a walk in the park.
The first sight of goal came about 15 minutes in when a run down the left from Eden out wide put her in a position to square across the goal but it was cleared off the line before we could touch it in
10 minutes later and Woodley were testing our defence, despite what looked like a foul on Vernon and then Yeo sliding in but not making contact with player or ball Woodley were awarded a corner. The first was cleared behind by a good defensive header before the second found an unmarked Woodley player arrive late around the penalty spot, fortunately she could only volley over.
Chances were difficult to come by for both teams and both teams tried to play football against two well organised defences. Eden drew a superb one handed save from the Woodley GK just after half hour as her cross deflected off the head of a defender and in to the opposite direction she was travelling.
Eden was having a great time running up and down the left like a puppy with a tennis ball. She rounded the GK on the 38th minute but the GK got a touch on the ball and pushed her to two wide to shoot and she was unable to pick out a sports player as the defence and GK recovered.
Miles attempted a long range free kick just before half time but it was just slightly too high and wide to test the GK.
Despite the fact Clarke was yet to make a save we’d seen enough to know that Woodley carried a threat and they were going to be very difficult to break down. Their GK also looked to be a very capable shot stopper so the last thing we wanted was the lottery of penalties.
Woodley came out fast in the second half and we were fortunate Clarke was on her toes to make a good save with her foot 5 minutes in.
The game seemed far more open second half and Eden drew another good save on 56 after a delightful through ball from Miles, she brought the ball down 6yds out just wide of the goal but couldn’t beat the GK from the angle.
A clever short free kick from Miles 3 minutes later gave Corredera Espejo a chance on the edge of the box but she couldn’t organise her feet quick enough and shot at the GK.
Brewer was finding a little more freedom as the game went on and found herself through just after the hour mark but didn’t take her chance early enough and the gk was out to smother the ball close to her goal.
Brewer then made a good run down the right fed the ball to Miles who’s cross was diverted by the recovering defender drawing another fantastic save from the GK to her bottom left.
63 minutes on the clock, we finally found a way past the Woodley GK and it was definitely worth waiting for.
A ball over from Miles was brought down on the first touch by Eden before expertly volleying in over the keepers head from 20yds. She might not score tap ins as we would see later but eventually comes up with the goods when needed.
Miles took aim from distance on 67 and it looked like it should have been a far more difficult save than the comfortable catch the GK made high to her top right corner.
Miles hit the cross bar on 77 as we pressed to put a bit of distance between us and Woodley, the rebound was crossed back in by Eden before good efforts from both Hughes and Davies were well blocked and then saved.
Eden was running out of time to defend her position as Rory from the week before and Miles was on hand to give her the perfect opportunity with 10 to go. Sliding the ball through for a close range chance, Eden meet the ball but managed to fire over when it looked easier to hit the target.
The game came to a close after what felt like an age of injury time and it was a repeat of the last round score line against Chichester 1-0 and an Eden goal.
Player of the match – Lauren Brewer
Managers Player – Becky Miles
Rory Rosie Eden for her last chance.
AFCB Devs vs BSLFC (league)
We travelled the very short journey to face top of the league AFCB Dev at Slades farm. A team we always seem to struggle to get a result against through the years but fresh from a good win at the previously unbeaten Stoneham we were hopeful for better luck.
In classic BSLFC circa 2018/19 we felt we should try to get the game off to a terrible start. Pugh passing across her own box after 5 minutes straight to the AFCB striker. Thankfully Eden was on hand to tackle her before she could put the ball into the empty net from 18yds.
First 5 nerves aside we actually started well and grew into the game. Tilly drew a good save from the AFCB GK with a powerful header from a corner.
Chances were difficult as both teams look to dominate the middle of the pitch and to their credit both teams were playing some decent football.
Yeo came off after 23 when her toe met the studs of an opposing player a bit too closely in a 50/50.
Miles put Eden through just after half hour but it was well defended and she could only win us a corner and a bit more attacking possession. Their organised defence dealt with the corner quite comfortably.
Some hard work and battling got Miles half a yd to have a shot from the edge of the box on the 36th minute but on this occasion we’d see it go wide.
We had a lot of the ball but couldn’t create a clear chance and while AFCBs pace in attack had to be respected they had yet to threaten us with anything that wasn’t our own making.
41 minutes on the clock and there was a rare shot on target although not at all threatening to AFCBs GK.
We’d threatened it all half and 4 minutes into first half injury time we had finally been punished for a mistake. We brought the ball down on the edge of our box as we defended but the pass was straight to the AFCB CB who was about 40yds from our goal. She hit it well and left Pugh no chance as it floated in clipping the crossbar on its way in.
We started the second half well and despite the big blow just before half time we felt we had had enough of the ball to get back in the game but it was AFCB who had the first real chance 5 minutes in to the half. A dangerous corner forced Pugh into a good save on the line before 2 more last ditch blocks were made and the eventually fell wide of the post for a goal kick.
Lewis had a great chance 2 minutes later from a Miles corner but just couldn’t make the connection required to pull us level.
As with first half we had a lot of the ball but couldn’t break down a stubborn AFCB side who seemed comfortable defending their narrow lead. Some good footwork from Mosley around the AFCB gave her a chance from the edge of the box but she could only fire at the GK for a comfortable catch on the 68th minute.
As we pressed higher we became susceptible to the counter and with 10 minutes to go a long ball put them through but the shot/cross went harmlessly wide and it remained 1-0.
We had one final chance in the 94th minute with a corner but with Pugh arriving from the Sports goal the corner from Miles hit the top of the bar and bounced away to wrap our first league defeat of the season and continue a frustrating run of results against AFCB.
Players player Jasmine Hughes picked up this as one half of the dm pairing that kept breaking up play in middle and trying to get us forward.
Managers Player Sian Tilly edged this from Hughes in a split vote for the other half of a very dominant dm display for us.
Rory went to captain Eden for attempting to take her base layer off without taking her tshirt off first and getting into abit of a tangle.
Rushmoor Community vs BSLFC Res (league) 16/1/22
We travelled up the M27 to take on top of the league Rushmoor for our first away game back of 2022. Sitting top and always giving us a very tough game we were expecting another tough day out.
The pitch was very wet which made any sort of football very difficult, the pace of the wide attacking Rushmoor players causing issues for our defence and a lack of recognised central midfielders in our squad making it difficult for us to play our usual way meant we could be in for a long afternoon.
The first clear chance went to Rushmoor after 15 minutes through one on one we had Hillier to thank for making a great save with her legs.
It took almost 30 minutes for us to carve out half a chance, Bradford cut inside from the left, Curtin picked up the ball and laid off to Gard who could only slice the ball wildly in the air from the edge of the box.
Shortly after Rushmoor were through again and missed clearance by Orton saw them race away but Hilliers legs were there to block the effort again as she rushed out to keep it 0-0.
A corner for us at 36mins gave us another half chance, it went all the way through the box for Lander to put it back into the box but Plummer couldn’t get to the ball at close range before it was cleared away near the line.
As we approached half time we seemed to have embraced a more direct route and when Plummer raced with two defenders from our clearance it looked like it might be the best way. Unfortunately she won the race but couldn’t find the finish.
16 sarah great save with her legs on 1 on 1
27 Daisy through cut inside, Demi got ball laid off to em, sliced up in the air 🤦🏼♂️🤦🏼♂️
30 fab misses clearance they’re through but sarah saves with her legs.
36 our corner played through Abi puts in the air, dropped but rocket can’t get to it before it’s cleared.
43 rocket through from clearance, took on the two defenders in foot race through but couldn’t find the finish
We changed to a more direct style and formation at half time as we tried to avoid playing through the middle of a pretty wet pitch.
It seemed to be working early as we got a few chances but we just couldn’t get a clear chance to work the Rushmoor Gk.
63 minutes on the clock and it was fellow member of the BSLFC GK Union that kept our clean sheet. Owen as a defender used her GK instinct to cover Hillier blocking a good effort on the line which fell kindly into Hilliers hands.
3 minutes later Hillier had to save with her feet as Rushmoor went through 1 on 1 again.
We weren’t playing well and our lack fluency was offsetting any amount of effort that we put in. Finally with 12 minutes to go the deadlock was broken and Hillier was beaten. A corner in to the front post was met by an unchallenged header from close range and Rushmoor had the lead.
We reacted by throwing on more strikers, and it was time for a new club record for youngest player. Having already been beaten by Keira earlier in the season it was the turn of one of her previous Bournemouth Sports under 16 team mates, Sadie West, to set an unbeatable record. Having a 16th birthday on a Sunday does have its perks and having cancelled her party to be at what is our furthest away game (without a ferry) shows the kind of dedication we appreciate.
We finished the game in a very unusual 3124 formation as we pushed everyone up. It almost paid off with 2 minutes to go, the ball fell to Plummer who it met it at speed on her weaker left foot about 12 yds out. Unfortunately, the connection was too good and the ball sailed over the bar and into the distance. It was a difficult chance but like the whole game we were only getting scraps.
That was that and despite a few minutes added to the end we just couldn’t find a way through a very tough defence.
Player of the match went to Demi Curtin who was an absolute machine working box to box on a very heavy pitch.
Rory went to Paige Owen who I’m beginning to think just enjoys the costume. Managing to turn up for her lift to the game without any of her kit so we had to go back for it 🤦🏼♂️ it’s a good job we love GKs here at sports.
Managers player went to Faith Nhemachena who was solid at right back against a very winger.
AFC Stoneham vs BSLFC First
Two teams unbeaten, this promised to be a tight yet entertaining game. I think any neutral would agree that was the case, and I think despite times in the game where Stoneham could have punished Sports lack of chance conversation, the game was not as tight as predicted.
The game played out with Sports dominating possession and Stoneham looking dangerous on the break. Their #9 living up to her reputation as a leading striker in the league, yet she was largely starved of support to capitalise on the moments of panic she created.
Midway through the first half, and a move of real quality saw a quick succession of 1-2s between Miles and Folkenstern ending in a powerful shot across goal from Miles that the keeper could only palmInto the side netting. A fantastic goal.
Possession doesn’t win games though, so it got a little nervy in the second half as Sports failed to get a second. It was late on, when a Miles corner fell to the back post to the eager Tilly to head home. Once again the keeper palming the ball into the side netting due to the power. Can’t help think that the removal of the Stoneham captain coincided with the extra space in the box. 0-2 took all the pressure off, and the game tapered to a steady finish.
A great fluid performance Sports against a stubborn Stoneham. Perhaps our best complete performance to date
BSLFC 2 – 2 Fleet
Despite having a lot of the ball and some excellent chances, they score first; 0-1. We equalise after a disguised reverse through-ball by Lander. Parsons runs onto the ball from the left and slides in to knock it past their oncoming keeper; 1-1.
The game was a little end to end, yet Fleet carved out the better chances in the mid-game. McHillier needs to make some vital saves to keep Sports in the game. Then, with Curtain seemingly everywhere and Bradford a continuous threat down the wing as well as defending like a hero, we look to regain control when Fleet scores again; 1-2
I think the team were a little complacent given the league position of Fleet, yet Fleet, on the back of another good result, came looking for 3 points. However, after a typical Lander dribble into the Fleet area and amidst many cries to shoot, Lander slides the ball across goal to Bradford, who had popped up from left-back to score her first BSLFC goal. A tidy finish, to an untidy 2-2 game. I think a fair result.
Rory went to Bradford, deciding the pitch was too small, taking it upon herself to destroy the barrier.
BSLFC vs Southampton Women Res
We welcomed Southampton Women Res to Chapel Gate for our first game of 2022 and hoping to get back to where we left off in December with a win.
It was a different looking side to the one we faced 7 weeks ago in the away game, a couple of subs and at times very aggressive.
The opening 10 minutes were pretty uneventful, barring an early off the ball incident against Eden which the referee never saw, as both sides looked to put their respective Christmas breaks behind them.
It was to be Eden who would break the deadlock on the 11th minute though. Davies on throw duties for Vernon out on the right had her throw returned to her and put in a great cross in to the box. The Southampton GK opted to rush out at the unmarked Eden who made a quick decision and took her chance to glance a first time header past her from about 14 yds. 1-0
We were comfortable in the Southampton half without creating much as we tried to settle down. Eden got another chance on 18 after some good football played her through but she could only fire wide from an angle.
Taylor was the next in line for some off the ball treatment as she was kicked round the back of the legs by the same player involved in the first incident following a strong but fair challenge but again the ref didn’t see this and the game continued.
Yeo got herself a rare chance on the 25 minute mark when a corner was eventually laid back to her about 30 yards out but her first time finish probably looked better in her head and the ball flew harmlessly wide.
Although Clarke was merely spectating in goal, as the back 4 stayed well organised protected by the dms, she was on hand with a couple of well played clearances when the defence found themselves under a bit of pressure.
Asira was incredibly denied a penalty on the 35th minute as she was cleared out from behind in the box much to the amazement of both benches. The ref later clarified his position that although the tackle was late and from behind he didn’t feel her first touch was good enough to warrant a penalty.
It was obvious that Southampton had enough ability to get a goal especially when paired with our ability to play ourselves into trouble but thus far we had got away without and weren’t left to rue and couple of good missed chances or the referees decisions.
At HT we decided to change the shape to give Folkenstern a bit of extra support in CM and try to play a bit closer to the Southampton goal in the hope we could put the game to bed.
The second half started brightly, Southampton clearly came out with a bit more energy up top and immediately put us under more pressure but this did give Eden a chance to run into a bit space at the back. She took advantage of this on the 51st minute as she dribbled past the right back but just before she could cross the line of the box she was unceremoniously brought down from behind with a professional foul that CB Yeo was probably internally applauding herself. The ref awarded a free kick on the line of the box but had clearly forgotten his cards as once again they escaped any sanction. Lewis almost manage to apply her own sanction when it eventually fell to her in the box but despite a decent connection the GK made a great reflex catch.
Yeo then limped out for Norman to take her place at CB just before a further triple substitution to change the shape as planned at HT.
It was a little belated but Sports had a Christmas present for the opposition 5 minutes later as we punished ourselves for not taking chances. Clarke sliding out to collect a long ball couldn’t gather the ball in her arms and as it popped up it fell kindly the Southampton striker who beat the desperate attention of Norman and Davies to square for a tap in just before Vernon could get across. 1-1
It was almost 2 a minute later as this now energised striker beat Norman to a bouncing ball in the air but luckily for us got her finish wrong and put wide of the far post.
We rode the storm for a couple of minutes as the changes settled down and it was one of the changes that helped us back in front. Some great play out wide on the right by Miles saw her fire a cross low to Folkenstern who first touch killed the pace and she was able to lay a perfectly weighted ball to the on running Eden. She struck it hard at the post, it bounced back, hit the back of the diving GK and squeezed over the line for 2-1. Slightly fortunate but a well worked goal and a lead that was deserved on the balance of the game.
The other 2 subs combined for a 3rd 5 minutes later. Hughes running through midfield played a heavy ball between defenders using the outside of right foot (a pass described by the manager as terrible in real time due to the awkward nature of it) it found Mosley, who’s touch was impeccable, controlling with her right onto her left in one motion and finishing into bottom left corner without breaking stride.
Knapton almost added a bit of gloss a minute after, Eden finding her in the box but the GK made a good save low down to her right.
Folkenstern weaved her way through the opposition on 75 before finding Mosley in the box. Despite the shot being scuffed the ball was far enough into the corner to draw another good save from the GK in the bottom corner.
A superb flowing move by Sports on the 78th minute gave Eden a great chance to finish her hat trick but with too much time at her disposal she got her feet confused and barely got a shot away as it bobbled harmlessly towards the GK. It’s difficult to hold it against the stand in Captain who has been in incredible form scoring 4 and assisting 3 in our last 3 games.
There was a little bit of handbags at the end of the game as the frustrated Southampton continued to push the limits of the referees notebook to no avail and the game was swiftly finished by the ref to give us our first 3 points of 2022 as we go into 2 weeks of very difficult fixtures against the other two unbeaten teams in the league sitting 2nd and 1st.
🏅Managers player went to the tough tackling right back Abbie Vernon who had one of her best games for us in both halves of the pitch.
🏆 Players player went to Abbie who topped a list of 7 players that received votes edging out Folkenstern by a single vote.
🦁 Rory also went to Abbie to become the first player to win all 3 match day awards in the same game! Picking up a couple of votes for an almost suicidal ball across the box but mainly for trying to control a ball with her face!