Game: South London v BAWFC
Author: Nav Johal
Player of the match: Lou
Thunder and Lightening can be a beautiful sight to see in the comfort of your own home, staring out the window all wrapped up in a warm blanket with a hot chocolate in one hand. It is not for attempting to play football in!
After we finally gathered up our players, got changed (that last guy seemed to take ages getting changed.....) and experienced a bit of nature we were all eager for kick off. Just the referee and a couple of players to wait for, so we 'warmed' up in the rain, after all getting together to build shelter for bags. Referee finally arrives and is eager to kick off straight away (and eager blow the final whistle it seemed), but we were still 2 players down - step in super subs Olive and Marie.....
Much of the first half was about getting used to kicking the ball in the wet, muddy pitch. All I remember about the first half was the rain - didn't seem like it was ever gona end! It felt like we were running carrying like an extra 3 stone in weight, we were that soaked!
We started off pretty well, great considering the last time we played South London the game ended in a 9 nil trashing! We seemed to match them pretty well this time round. Our defence managed to battle against South London and the rain pretty well, some great covering from Bel and Preeti, some good clearances from Kirsty. And Petra did a great job as last minute cover in the right back position and a couple of players were running late.
About mid way through the first half we gave the ball away in the middle of the pitch and South London took advantage of the break and went 1 nil up. Still our heads never went down (although my shorts were so heavy from the rain that they kept falling down) and we carried on battling in the first half. We had some great crosses come in from Lou, Nav, Char and Olive, some great corners from Lou but still couldn't really get a decent shot on goal. Lou and Katie got some good balls in through the middle too, the rain making it particularly difficult for the attackers to get on the end of them.
We went in half time 1 nil down, but still with hope of getting something from this game.
Referee was keen to start the second half of the game (anyone would of thought he wanted to be anywhere but outside on a muddy pitch in the pouring rain...). The second went underway with the same 11. South London made a couple of changes. And they started strong. We kicked off but we were being pressed in defence and eventually it led to a 2nd goal for South London.
Then it seemed we finally got hang of playing in the rain. The majority of the second half we had good possession and some great attacks up front. Then we got the break we deserved - a fine ball from Olive and a even finer shot from Marie led to our first goal. Marie's first goal for BA. A fantastic shot that left the keeper with no chance.
Around half way through the second half Nadine comes on for Marie, and I partnered Olive up front. We had some good play and thought we about to equalise when I crossed the ball into Olive who shrugged of her defender and was clean on goal, just the goalie to beat. We all paused, waiting to celebrate....... all of a sudden Olive's on floor!!! We couldn't believe it - that damn puddle! Not just a puddle, but like a huge lake in front of the goal - it was huge and knee deep! The ball seemed to get stuck in the puddle, Olive went one way but the ball went another (Note: Training this week - lets practise attacking and defending against puddles - they can be tricky to get past, especially if they catch you unaware).
Katie makes way for Danni about now who slotted into her familiar role in central midfield. We had some good possession but again we lost the ball in the centre of the pitch, which led to South London's 3rd goal.
We may as well have given up now - but that's not the BA spirit! We fought back so hard, with decisions going the opposite way, the really bad conditions. We continued to battle right up to the final whistle.
We got a free kick just outside the box, with a wonderful delivery from Lou it seemed destined for goal. All it needed was a tap in. It drifted right across goal and Char was so unlucky to hit the bar.
Last few minutes of the game we battled hard. We got a corner which they defended well but Petra passed back into attack and Nadine's sweet strike led to our 2nd goal of the day, and her first goal for BA in a competitive game.
But it was all a little too late - that was literally the last kick of the day - the ref blew his whistle. Final score - 3 - 2.
Well fought game - heads were up at the end of the game. We've come a long way from the 9 nil trashing and look forward to the return fixture. Hopefully south London ladies will leave the rain and Clapham Common for that game....