Oxford 2-9 Barnes
Due to a slight underestimation by our captain of London traffic, our final 3 players arrived at the pitch with a whole 60 seconds to warm up before taking on Barnes in the Over 35s Shield. Barnes sadly hadn’t tired themselves out with their rather lengthier warm-up and came out at us very fast – fast, and young, and skilful. Despite Laura’s best efforts in goal – for which she was the clear man of the match winner – we were soon a couple of goals down. Barnes also hit the post several times and fired the ball wide, so it might have been worse than 3 or 4 down at half-time (I’d already lost count).
Claire came up with a cunning new plan and formation for the second half, which resulted in us shipping 3 more goals pretty swiftly after half-time. Nevertheless, Lianne was doing some sterling defensive work (whisking the ball away from the opposition forwards like a magician, just when they thought they were in) alongside Bernie and the ever-solid Katie. Lammey battled away just in front, helping us to get the ball up the pitch and involve our forwards more, and Mell ran her socks off and tackled like a demon all the way through.
Suddenly though the game turned as Sarah started a good move up the right and won a free hit. Emma did a brilliant overlapping run from defence and crossed the ball to Tinny. I’m not sure what Tinny did, but the keeper got in the way and it was left to Anisha to open the Oxford scoring. The comeback was on.
Barnes may then have scored a few more; I can’t really remember. There were a lot of goals. And a particularly impressive airborne save from Laura, with lightening reactions. By this point Tinny was telling us that all she wanted for Christmas was a short corner and waving dramatically at the umpires – a little like a not-so-scary clown. Finally, she got her wish. At the second attempt, she thundered the ball in and – with a little help from a defender’s bigfoot / stick – it deflected into the net.
If only we’d had more time, I feel sure that the 7 more goals we needed to take us to flicks would have come, thanks to our extensive training and match fitness regime. Sadly that fitness regime had forced Nadine to pull out at the last minute, due to a running injury, and we were very grateful to Marianne for stepping in to be our super sub.
Teas were very nice, including home-made cake, so thanks to Barnes for their hospitality.
Man of the Match: Laura Fyfe
Scorers: Anisha, Tinny