HAMPSHIRE COUNTY CUP
The match started brightly with both teams competing hard for the ball and the two defences needing to be switched on. It took some time for the Sports players to find their groove in a new formation and with some valuable squad rotation, but when they did, there were large passages of control.
As with previous games, however, we lack a ruthless touch; winning lots of corners off defenders where a little more composure may put the opposition keeper under more pressure. Luckily, we have been dangerous on corners so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see one of Miles’s deliveries find Shaw at the back post, who lobbed it back across goal to Eden’s shouts of “it’s in” only for the ball to surprise Eden by coming back off the bar. The one-time forward turned full-back fell back on her instincts and snatched the ball home: 0-1.
The game fell into a pattern of solid and composed Eastleigh defending and wasteful Sports attacking. Cross after cross into really dangerous areas, yet left wanting, was frustrating the players. Definitely one for the training ground.
Just before half-time, a second breakthrough finally came. Eden this time provider, making a trademark run from the left, Folkenstern played to Shaw who managed to slide the ball through to Eden, who made her way into the box to square across to Hawkins who made no mistake from close range: 0-2
The second-half started with a formation change for the home side which posed our defence a few more problems. But the flow of the game still stayed in our favour. Fowell and Tilly doing a great job marshalling the midfield providing freedom for attacks down both flanks. Folkenstern heading just wide and Miles stinging the keepers hands from range the pick of the chances.
It was perhaps most pleasing in the game that changes from the bench kept the game flowing, and the added energy was enough to see the game through. 20 mins to go, Miles makes a great run which Hughes and Shaw both notice. Hughes plays the ball through Shaw who lets it run through her legs to the on-running Miles whilst the defenders deceived by the action. Miles makes no mistake in putting it past the keeper this time: 0-3
Thoughts started to turn to a clean sheet at this point as the game became very stretched. Eastleigh were not done. Sports had to defend some difficult corners and good wing play, and one deflected shot that brought Chrippes into the limelight. Looking like the deflection was going to evade her first dive, she found an extra arm length to get a hand to the ball skipping off the surface and turn it wide. Seeing the players celebrate a save is the type of passion we need to bring into next weeks FA cup tie.
The game ended on a sad note when within the dying seconds an Eastleigh player, stood on a foot in the challenge and its seems like a nasty twist to the knee. We wish her well.
Rory went to Eden, who despite a goal and assist managed to be remembered for her repeated comical moments- don’t ever change Eden ?
Player’s player went to Davis for a juggernaut of a performance. If we had stats for tackles one and interceptions, she may have been setting records. Add to that a willingness to attack and to win her 1v1s and she picked up manager’s player of the match also.