DGLL u18: Pride Park Juniors v Chellaston 19/10/13
Yesterday was our first game after two consecutive blank Saturdays. After two defeats this was an important game and the break didn’t do us any favours as we looked rusty and could not match the same level of performance as in the opening three games.
We were to a large extent the masters of our own downfall in the first half as were guilty of ball watching on several occasions, allowing Chellaston players time and space in our penalty area from which, together with a couple of defensive mistakes they punished us.
It all contributed to a frantic first half when it looked like the game might end up 20-20. Jordele opened the scoring for us but two quick goals from Chellaston put them ahead – three goals and only 7 mins gone!
The goal-fest didn’t stop there, as Chelsie scored to level the score, only for Chellaston to take the lead again; although it was a bizarre penalty decision after the striker stepped on Vicky's foot, and fell over – only the referee can explain that one, along with several other baffling decisions. Chellaston then extended their lead, to make the score 2-4 with twenty minutes gone.
We hit back straight away, Chelsie pulling one back within a minute, and getting the equaliser ten minutes later. Five minutes after that we were ahead, thanks to a terrific strike from BethJ, but Chellaston equalised to make it 5-5 at the break. In the middle of that we were denied a penalty when Chelsie was tripped in area but the referee "gave us advantage", despite there being none.
It had been a frenetic first half, in which we had given our opponents far too much space and time in critical areas, and had not played to our strengths, so apart from giving us all a much needed chance to catch our breath, half time gave us an opportunity to regroup and sort a few things out – pushing midfield on (a good spot from Dave W from his vantage point on the line), pressuring the ball, tracking runs off the ball, and picking our passes much better.
We improved measurably in a second half in which both teams had fewer chances. We had the edge, certainly in terms of the chances we were creating, although as we couldn't capitalise on them we could not afford to relax as Chellaston kept going and remained dangerous on the break. Nevertheless, we limited them to one shot on goal in the second half, although there were a couple of close shaves including one when Vicky had to come out smartly to clear, resulting in a collision with the striker which left Vicky on the floor for her trouble. Fortunately, there was no serious damage and after treatment she was able to continue.
Chelsie sealed the win with her fourth of the game as the midpoint of the half approached. We had to withstand a late flurry from Chellaston in the final 10 minutes, but we defended resolutely to secure a much needed three points.
In the first half in particular, albeit with our help, Chellaston probably gave us more problems than any other team we’ve faced this season, even though we had lost the previous two games. It wasn't our best performance of the season, by any means, but the girls battled and scrapped and kept going, showing real determination, and deserved the win.
After our last two opponents telling us we had been unfortunate to come away with no points from those games, it makes a welcome change to have ended a game with three points even though we weren’t at our best. Well done, girls.
Result: Pride Park Juniors 6-5 Chellaston
Scorers: Chelsie (4), Jordele, BethJ