Saturday, 10th November: 2–1 win.
With some trepidation, 12 Berries turned up for an evening game at Battersea Park. I say evening – it was 3pm, but it had seemed like the game would never arrive.
Positions selected saw Lin in goal; Steph, Helena and Teresa in defence; and Helen R taking up the lead role at Centre Half, flanked by Susie and Jenny. Playing up front were Phoebe, Nikki, Helen S, Grace and Emma.
From the off Berries began to hassle London Eds not allowing them to settle on the ball. Where they did get space or create space they were soon closed down and the ball stolen from their sticks. Eds looked decidedly uncomfortable as Berries kept the pressure on and getting closer to creating a real attacking chance.
For all their hassling, especially Helen R who seemed to be all over the pitch, Berries’ strikes on goal were limited to a couple of penalty corners. However, Berries were soon to take the lead with an own goal. Emma sent a strong hit across the D, only for an Eds defender to deflect it into their goal.
This seemed to spur Eds into life as they began to find a little passing form. On a couple of occasions they manage to break through the defence, only to be faced with a Lin clearing Berries lines. Some fine defending from Helena and Steph saw most Eds attacks fizzle out with the ball goal out over the back line.
Berries were hunting for second goal before the half time whistle for a little bit of comfort, but Eds held firm.
The second half saw Berries renew their efforts, with Nikki forcing some saves from the Eds keeper and some hurried clearances from their defence. Berries had Eds pinned back but always had to be aware of counter attacks.
Time and again Berries attacked, using both Phoebe and Emma down the wings with some delightful passing exchanges and support play from all the forwards. Halfs were still picking up the loose balls and trying to feed them back into the D.
Finally a second goal from Berries courtesy of Grace, who picked up a rebound and forced the ball into the net. More hassling from Berries throughout the pitch, including both Grace and Phoebe chasing back to help out the halfs.
Eds managed to pull a goal back after a slight issue with Lin’s foot (it missed the ball). This set up a nerve wracking finish as Eds tried everything in order to find the equaliser. Helen R having run herself into the ground sat out the last 10 minutes as Nikki took control of the midfield calmly holding the ball up or putting it into the furthest corner to take off a few vital seconds.
Final score 2–1 win (phew!)