BSLFC Res 3 vs 4 Liphook
Liphook made the relatively long journey to us for our first game in the league cup. They are a league below us but we were taking nothing for granted as they are currently unbeaten and doing very well.
Despite the distraction of the FA Cup game a couple of pitches over the team switched on and got off to a good start.
Most of the opening 10 minutes was spent in the Liphook defensive half, with Curtin and Lander making positive runs looking to get in behind the defence, the latter getting a few sights on goal but never really troubling the Liphook GK.
First blood was to the visitors though, a long ball after we needlessly gave the ball away on the edge of the Liphook box and we were in trouble, a great first touch by the Liphook striker evaded Bradford’s efforts at the back and she was clear through to finish over Brett.
We got straight back to attacking though and a corner to us a minute later saw Curtin with a free header but unfortunately she couldn’t make the required contact to pull us level.
Brett was called upon after 20 minutes, saving well at the feet of the Liphook striker, but they could do nothing about Liphooks second. The lone striker was forced wide of the 18yd box by the defence, she fired a cross low but with no support it should have been easily dealt with, unfortunately Davies wasn’t aware of the lack of danger and lunged to head it out but only succeeded in beating Brett at the front post. 0-2 down in a game that we had been comfortable in was unbelievable.
Stocker pulled one back for us just after half hour, Curtin finding her on the edge of the box before she took a neat touch and finished well with her left. 1-2
We were behind, not playing brilliantly but well in the game, there was no need to panic at half time. A penalty on pitch 1 to the firsts distracted the half time team talk but such is the nature of this squad you can only admire their togetherness. The whole reserve squad sprinting over to support and then sprinting back to refocus was a great sight.
We started the second half much how we had finished the first, in the Liphook half without really causing their gk too many problems. We were duly punished for this just before the hour, a Liphook player picking the ball up on the edge of our box and firing high and hard over Brett’s head. 1-3 we’ve lost a few games this season due to wasting chances and not staying focused at the back and this looked like it was to be another one of those days.
The team hadn’t given up hope though, Taylor won us a penalty 3 minutes later, but a superb one handed save denied Plummer the chance to get us back in the game.
We weren’t to be denied for long though and it was a moment of brilliance from the young midfielder Wetton. Thompson found her with a cross out on the edge of the box and first time volley on the turn looped over the GKs head and in at the back post. 2-3 65 minutes gone.
We then found ourselves level 2 minutes later. Taylor with a decent low free kick was dropped by the Liphook GK and Plummer was quickest to react finishing the rebound 3-3.
We were applying more and more pressure but could not find a way through the resilience of Liphook. Plummer did find herself through on the 77th minute but her composure evaded her as she lashed at the ball on the edge of the box completely missing it when we’ve seen score from here more often than not.
Taylor was forced to limp off with 10 minutes to go after a heavy challenge on her ankle and we can only hope she doesn’t add to our ever growing list of injured CMs.
It seemed to be inevitable this would go to pens with Liphook offering little in attack but stopping us causing a threat on the rare occasion we started to play. A late substitution by Liphook which appeared to be with penalties in mind turned into an inspired decision.
A long ball wasn’t dealt with by the Sports defence as Davies jumped into Sims and the sub found herself through 1 on 1 with 91 minutes on the clock. For all of our lack of composure, she showed superb composure to get close enough to easily roll it into the bottom corner against the stranded Hillier. 3-4 down with a couple of minutes of injury time to go.
We do seem to enjoy being behind though and managed to carve out one more clear opportunity on the 93rd minute for Plummer. She found herself clear through but again rush her finished bobbling the ball wide of the far post when she had time to get closer.
Stocker almost had another chance right at the death but a brave tackle on the edge of the box found Stocker kicking the Liphook defenders foot instead of the ball causing her knee to go at an awkward angle and a feared ruptured ACL. It was agreed to finish the game there. An awful end to a terrible day for Sports and we wish Stocker all the best and keep our fingers crossed it’s not as bad as first feared.
We wish Liphook all the best for the rest of the cup and are sure they’ll be joining us in Division 1 soon.
Player of the match: went to Demi Curtin who kept going right to the death and tried her hardest to drag the team through the poor parts of the game.
Managers player: also went to Demi for the above.
Rory: went to Sarah Plummer, one on ones, penalties, she had it all but one of those days that all strikers have and I’m sure she’ll learn from it.