FIRSTS BEATEN BY CLIFTON ROBINSON
Leicester found themselves on the receiving end of a poor start going down two goals in the first twelve minutes. As the half continued however Leicester started to come into the game and ten minutes before the end of the half secured their first goal. Maddy Newlyn picked up the ball just over half way line, drove it to the top left of the circle and fired a reverse stick shot into roof of net, the goalkeeper didn't had the chance to move, 2-1 into half time.
The usual stern team talk saw Leicester come back into the second half raring with a much improved performance and several good chances created.
Clifton unfortunately broke the deadlock with another goal and Leicester went further behind, 3-1. Leicester's efforts were rewarded with a second goal coming from Rachel Mack from a Penalty Corner strike, 3-2.
Sadly for Leicester this was how the game was to close as the Clifton keeper continued to deny Leicester advances to secure an equaliser.
Leicester continue to hold their mid table position comfortably ahead of some tough fixtures to see out the 16/17 season.
Next game vs Canterbury away 16:00 pushback
SECONDS BATTLE TO DRAW WITH CANNOCK
Leicester started the match with high intensity putting Cannock on the back foot. The front three continued to win the ball up high and became the dominant team for the first 10 minutes. The break through finally came from a scrappy short corner which was turned in by Bethan Clargo. Leicester continued to dominate but missed several chances to extend the lead which allowed Cannock to get back in the game.
Cannock got themselves back into the game with two well worked goals, both of which were nicely played around the Leicester defence. The rest of the first half saw Cannock on top and Leicester were happy to see the half time whistle, 2-1 Cannock.
The second half saw Leicester start brightly and with few opportunities presented to Cannock it presented a golden chance to grab all three points. Leicester drew level after Kitty Bridgwood beat a player for pace on the base line and snuck it past the on rushing keeper, 2-2. Leicester continued to push for the winning and the last 30 seconds saw Lucy Meadows break out from back line and created one last chance. However, the ladies were unable to capitalise on a gilt-edge opportunity. Final score 2-2.
In reflection 2-2 was a fair result and the Leicester Ladies will take a lot away from another great team performance.
Next game vs Boots at home 15:00 pushback
MATCH REPORT VS LOUGHBOROUGH TOWN
It was still dark as I left for the, ridiculously early, 9am start at Loughborough. Playing Loughborough Town, comfortably one of the top 3 teams in the league, we had high hopes of one simple thing. The game would be cancelled early; because it would snow, it was really cold and we all wanted to stay a little longer cozy in our beds.
However, it was not too be. We arrived at the ground, having missed my sneaky McDonald’s breakfast and coffee, to see a white pitch. What were we doing here when clearly the pitch was not fit for play? Players arrived, many clearly still half asleep (Anna K said nothing for almost 90 mins and I didn’t see her smile until partially through the second half, almost unheard of) and equally irritated that the game had not been called off. 20 mins later, a little rain (and snow) and the pitch had cleared. We had no excuses we had to play hockey and we were going to have to work really hard to get anything out of the game.
It started in the normal haphazard disorganised way I like all teams I am involved in to being with. Gemma, had decided she wasn’t keen on being on the pitch as the whistle blew. She had parked herself in the dugout, perhaps doing her nails and lippy. Certainly unconcerned by the immediate attack instigated by Town or the fact we only had 10 on the pitch. Having sorted her hair she made it onto the pitch. She cruelly blamed my poor and rushed explanation of the team. Honestly, can’t see it myself...
For 20 minutes, we held out. For 20 minutes we defended; tackles, bodies, sticks and Etta’s knee all collaborated in a rear guard action to restrict town. It was working well. I cannot think of more than 1 or 2 half chances that were created. Unfortunately, Etta’s knee broke the deadlock. 22 players watched on as the piercing death throes of the U14 captain filled the air. The squeals, cries and occasional whimpers continued for a couple of minutes until Gaynor put her out of her misery. A short corner followed and a really well worked goal. 5 minutes later and another short corner, this one was not Etta’s fault.
2 goals in 25 minutes. The defensive effort had been superb. What followed however was 10 minutes where all the players lifted themselves and we went hunting in attack. Despite some great build up play, pass and move, accurate passes, proper hockey!!! We didn’t quite have the quality to create a clear clean opportunity.
The second half started in much the same way. Leicester 4s were going to take the game to the opposition. Certainly we had no desire to roll over and have our tummy tickled. Confidence was building, passing was slick, and there was not “slap and hope” or “head down and charge” hockey being played. We were trying to play town off the park. Ros, Juliette, Hollie, Anna K, Frankie and Gaynor at times made the opposition wildly chase us around the pitch it really was a pleasure to watch.
With a little more patience, a little more confidence and, to be honest, a little more quality goals and chances could have been created. Kate and Abi worked really hard for no reward, there will be games where they, and we, will be rewarded for these efforts.
Defensively we looked very comfortable, Town were getting increasingly frustrated and Fran (another young player starting out for the club in a senior shirt), Gemma, Ellie, Erin, Emily, Emma and Etta were putting their bodies on the line, being equally physical and town neither liked, nor expected it. Kerry, in goal for the first time for the club, had a great debut only being beaten from short corners. A real credit to everyone in the side for the qualities they demonstrated. The only goal in the second half, another short corner.
So another loss and another game where all I can do is shrug and tell you all how well you played. A little more experience, a little more age and you will start to win more games in this league. I told you how impressed I was on Saturday and looking back I would still rate that as one of the best performances you have put in. With the youngest player in the side at least 5 or 6 years younger than every player on the opposition and our older players (excluding Gaynor … sorry!!) younger than most of the opposition as well its always going to be a tall order to compete against the Loughborough sides who simply play at a level significantly beyond everyone else in the league. However, feedback I had was very positive and I am, as always, very proud of you all.
I would like to thank the 3s squad players who did turn out this week. All mucked in and had hugely positive influences on our performance and the performance of other players around you.
So to player of the match. Juliette won it again (been far too many this season) and thoroughly deserved. She is a horrible irritation to play against; arms, legs and stick everywhere. I have, however, noticed she makes sure she get close to every member of the opposition at different points in the game. Canvassing? A Coincidence? I will let you decide.
There is one player I want to highlight however. Teeny Weeny Ickle Anna K, I put money on her going blue with the cold at some point in the game, but throughout she threw herself into the game, was involved in most of our best attacks and again demonstrated what a good player she will be.
Lost 3-0 (with the agreed 5 goal handicap however, technically we won!!!!!)
Next game for the Fourths will be on the 25th February in the return fixture against Loughborough Town, at home 10:30 pushback