After a few weeks interupted by Easter and School holidays our Team was finally back to having 11 girls on the field and had a added bonus of having 1 reserve. The last few weeks have been tough as we have been playing with 9 and 10 players against tough opposition. Whilst the scorelines havent been kind to us over the last few weeks the improvement has been evident and in both games that we had lost we have seen some good football played by the girls from Russell Vale.
Which brings us to todays game against Oak Flats who are new Team into the competiton this year and whilst they had lost their last 2 games it was only by 1 goal each time, so we knew it was going to be a tough game especially with an 8.30 start and knowing how much Teenage girls love a sleep in- it may be up there with chocolate- it was always going to be a big ask.
Thankfully the girls came with a great attitude and were switched on from the kick off. We had the better run of play in the first half and were unlucky not to score a few goals through our mid fielders and forwards. After a half time talk where we asked the girls simply to put in and go harder than what they did in the first half- it was all over to the girls, and didnt they deliver a great performance!!
After countless attacking raids Paige put a great volley in the back of the net after some good lead up work from Chloe and Alyse with around 10 minutes to go. From then on it was a matter of hanging onto our lead and we nearly went up 2-0 straight after the restart aftet a great strike from Alyse just went wide off the post. With ony minutes left to go Alyse nailed one from close range to put the game beyond doubt and give our girls their first win of the season. It was a well deserved and constructed win and the girls can take alot of confidence out of their collective performance. It was a great Team effort and easily our best game of the Year!
A special thank you to our Goalie today- Meg, with Hannah away today she stepped up and played both halves in goals which isnt ideal but she put herself before the Team and for that we should all be very grateful. As always Meg was great in goals and with Hannah back next week they will be back to sharing the GK duties. Meg only had a couple stops each half but they were all sharp chances and she handled them all with ease.
Meg and our defensive line set up our win today. Kylie, Mia, Sarah and Emilee all had their best games in the green and white of Russell Vale today. Mel who started the game at left back was feeling crook and was a reluctant starter but did well with the limited time she spent on the field.
Mia was great at Central defender and was calm and composed at all times- so much so, that she was even retrieving balls from an adjacent field while waiting for the next attacking raid from the opposition. This is one of the most important positions on the field and she showed her defensive and attacking skills time and time again in a great individual performance.
Kylie and Emilee were both strong in defence and they cleared the ball effectively for the entire match. The second half when the game started to open up a bit saw both girls show more of their attacking skills and they combined very well with the mid fielders on alot of occasions.
Our right back Sarah had her best game since she started playing for Russell Vale last year. She was strong in defence and attack and her option taking was almost faultless. Her 60m run up the sideline in the first half nearly ended up with a goal and with that type of form she will be on the goal scorers list sooner rather than later.
If our defenders set up the win our mid fielders ensured the win and set up countless attacking raids for our forwards to take advantage off.
Jade’s control was impeccable and her skills are developing each week. She went close to scoring on a few occasions and again it wont be long before she collects another goal to go with the one that she scored in our first game. She combined well with Chloe and Alyse and worked hard all game.
Ashleigh and Jasmine were everywhere today. I think between them they must have covered the distance of the City to Surf and back to the City again with the amount of running they both did. Jasmine like Sarah had her best game for Russell Vale and not only ran all game but defended if her life depended on it and provided plenty of attacking options for herself and our forwards. Ashleigh like Jasmine, was everywhere and she is developing into a great centre mid fielder. Her work rate has to be seen to be believed and in any 50 / 50 contest she time and time again comes out with the ball and ready to set up another attacking raid. Ashleigh went close to scoring a great goal only to be stopped by an out stretched hand from the keeper which by all reports broke her finger and she had to be replaced. It will only be a matter of time before Asheigh plants one in the back of the net!
Our forwards were great and capitalised on great lead up work from their Team mates. Paige and Alyse both grabbed goals and Chloe was not lucky to get on the scoreboard, but with her pace and her developing skills it again will only be a matter of time before she bags one. The girls up front worked very well together today and are beginning to understand their roles in the Team and more importantly the off side rule. We were only penalised 3 times for off side but is an improvement over games gone by and will be a continued focus at training.
Overall it was a great effort from the girls and all the training is starting to pay dividends. It was good to get our first win of the Year and show the girls what can be achieved with hard work- that session on Thursday (in pouring rain) certainly helped and was vital in the success achieved today.
Whilst it was a great win, we dont want to get carried away with the result. We may play that well again or better and not get the desired result.
What is important is improving our Performance and Execution each week and if we do that we will enjoy the thrill of winning alot more games over the course of the Year!!
Great game girls and look forward to putting in more work together on Tuesday night.