Saturday 14th September : Inkberrow Eagles Girls 2 v St John’s Colts 1
After a very well deserved summer break the Eagles finally lined up for their first game of the season at home against St Johns Colts. The team was made up of familiar faces, together with new squad members Rosanna and Hope who were both making their league debuts. Abi was now also putting on the goalie shirt and gloves for the first time, taking control between the sticks from her big sister, Holly and Mils.
The new management / coaching team of Mark & Ross stood anxious on the side line (Co-manager Paul was too busy singing Bonnie Tyler songs whilst biking around France... cop out!). The game kicked off and during the first half it was obvious that the match was going to be a tight affair with The Colts restricting The Eagles from their
passing game and blocking everything in their very well organised and towering defence. The Eagles withstood early pressure from a number of corners with Abi making sure nothing got past her... aiding her confidence which
grew as the match progressed. Hannah & Louise were also digging in deep for some much needed defensive duties. During the half there were glimpses of what the Eagles are capable of. A low hard pass was hit into the area and Amie (Match Captain) quickly ran onto it and released a looping high drive only to see what looked like a great opening goal brilliantly saved by the keeper. The parents on the side-lines were willing the ball into the back of the net for Amie... unfortunately not to be today but a few more shots like that and Amie will be on a roll. St John's kept battling hard in midfield but unfortunately Louise picked up a knock, Rosanna calmly took over her duties and Hope swapped for Fern. Shortly afterwards Ellie had another strike excellently saved off the line by the Colt's keeper. The match ended for the break goalless.
The second half kicked off with Inkberrow having much more vigour and finally the flowing football started to take shape with Ellie flying down the wing. Grace picked up the ball, looked up and hit a hammer bolt of a shot from 15 yards only to see the ball rattle fiercely against the cross bar... Urrghhh. Were we ever going to score today?
Abi then made a brilliant save and quickly released the ball down the line, Grace knocked the ball onto Ellie, who whilst running at pace calmly drove a low and hard strike goal bound... Finally the deadlock was broken with a fantastically worked Eagle's goal 1:0. The nerves were partly settled but 1:0 is never enough breathing space so thankfully Grace shortly afterwards quickly ran from the half way line intercepting a goal kick, Grace pounced and after earlier agonisingly witness her strike rebound off the cross bar made certain that this time her strike hit the back of the net 2-0! St John’s weren’t going to roll over and kept pushing forward only to be thwarted by great blocks and tackles. Abi was still being kept busy but kept a cool head by dribbling the ball along her own goal line with the Colts charging at her (the rest of us were having kittens!)
With 5 minutes remaining St. John’s scored leaving us with an uncomfortable last few minutes during which almost the entire team had to frantically defend our goal. Finally the whistle was blown and both the fans and players knew what a hard fought win it had been and there was a collective sigh of relief after letting the Colts back into the game so late on. The whole team played their part in this battling win but the Player of the Match medal went to Abi for a great shot stopping performance during her debut in goal. Hope and Rosanna also seamlessly settled into the team – Congrats all!
It was a good job that the Inkberrow Beer Festivale (sic) was on that evening, a drink or three was definitely needed by the Manager at least!
Saturday 21st September : Redditch United 3 v Inkberrow Eagles Girls 4
With Abi absent through illness (get well soon Abs’ - we all missed you) the Eagles had to rely on Grace in goal and from the kick off it was all square with Louise and Hannah (Captain) looking solid in defence with both teams trying to break the deadlock which came within 5 minutes of play to Redditch United (1-0). Inkberrow were still defending doggedly and were still trying to create their own chances with Amie and Rosanna in midfield, Ellie and Hope up front all playing well but Redditch looked just as impressive. Inkberrow made just one change with Rosanna
being replaced by Fern who quickly found her stride and nearly went close with a shot just wide. The Eagles
working tirelessly, attacking up field were now growing in confidence, putting together lots of neat passes and starting to believe that all was not lost. 1-0 to Redditch at half time.
Second Half... Needing to go out on the offensive from the outset another change was made with Rosanna who
had never played in goal before taking over the responsibility from Grace. Grace relishing the chance to now stretch her legs outfield, quickly found her stride. Inkberrow showed increased determination with great tackling, passing and shooting from every player, resulting in the Eagles equaliser coming from a low hard hit shot from Ellie giving the Redditch goalkeeper no chance 1-1. Our stand-in keeper Rosanna was still busy and looked confident in goal, a quick kick out and a neat pass from Amie to Ellie who with another fantastic shot made it 1-2 to Eagles. Redditch still
pressed and quickly got back into the match making it 2-2. Then again end to end play with Louise and Hannah still man marking their players tightly, resulting in Hannah coming off winded from a loose ball, to be replaced by
Fern. Amie now dropped back into defence and held her own clearing her lines, passing the ball to Hope who found Fern with another nice pass to Grace who went past the defender and struck a low shot into the far corner
of the net 2-3 Eagles. With little time remaining on the clock the Eagles were defending in numbers to hold onto the lead but again Redditch United fought back and scored with some nice passing amongst themselves for another
equaliser. This roller coaster of a game looked like it had a draw all over it but it was the Eagles who with great team spirit broke away once more for Grace who with a calm head duly replied with her second goal 3-4 Eagles. What a fantastic performance by every Eagle and a real nail biter of a game… absolutely brilliant result!
Player of the Match awarded to Rosanna who was excellent in and out of goal, always with a smile on her face.....true
So, follow that Under 10's!
Saturday 21st September : Inkberrow Eagles 2-4 Pershore Town (friendly)
Following the previous weekends narrow defeat to Crowle, our brave lads travelled to Pershore...akin to Chelsea - intimidating, relentless, but lacking some of their previous strength of last year. And so it transpired. After an initial 10 minutes of battering the Eagles defence and goal, the game started to even out - it took something magical to break the deadline, and an insightful ball through the heart of the defence heralded Pershore's opening goal. The next one had more than an element of luck with a speculative shot ricocheting off a defender and into the opposite corner of the net...2-0....did the lads heads go down. Not on your life...this may just have been a friendly, but the boys pushed on...and were rewarded with a piece of individual brilliance from one of our new starters. Picking the ball up just in side the opposition half, he jinked his way down the right hand side, avoiding three strong challenges, cut into the penalty area and unleashed an unstoppable shot....GGOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! 1-2 going into the break....As the halftime team talk came to an end a eureka moment....insight from the boys - 'we are playing really well as a team and fighting for each other' - keep it going. And keep it going they did. The second half kicked off and on the insistence of the coach, it was going to be a harder second half - 30 minutes instead of 25 - lets see how our stamina holds out?! - it was a friendly after all, and a chance to build some strength for upcoming games. Our goalkeeper was playing like a man possessed - The Cat - made countless saves in both the first and second half which both inspired his team mates and kept the team in it. The balance of play had swayed to Inkberrow, wave after wave of attacks, with an occasional break away from the opposition (we need to practice on how to be ready for that!)....and the pressure paid off. A challenge in the middle of the field saw the ball break towards Inkberrows forward players, a quick pass and GGOOOAAALLLLL!!!!! 2-2....a comeback of immense proportions. This was Pershore - but the team now had belief, and they pressed on. A fortunate header just over the bar from a Pershore defender, defending his own goal, meant the scores remained level...how close the lead!!??? And then that pesky break away....not once but twice - however, and team take note....the last two goals were after what would have been classed as full time....so whilst we had changed the goalposts for second half timings, the team should take great credit in holding a strong Pershore team right up until the end. Credit to both teams. There were hard and fair competitors on the pitch, with the spoils narrowly going to Pershore - this time...but we are on the rise....think we will need to change our monika from Eagles to Phoenix....but lets just get Tewkesbury Colts and Eckington Eagles out of the way in our next 2 games first before we get too excited... :-) - well done boys!