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Ladies 1s Vs. Slough 2s - Saturday 9 October 2021

South Central League Premier 2 Division 09/10/21

Banbury Ladies 1s - 0, Slough 2s - 3

We were hoping for much better weather today compared to last weeks’ wet and miserable

conditions, but leaving Banbury at 08:00 saw thick fog and we wondered if we would be able to see from one end of the pitch to the other. However, by the time we arrived at Slough, the fog had lifted and it brightened noticeably – an omen perhaps? Due to the long journey and early start, it was a challenge to get a full team together, but any nervousness about that soon evaporated and

everyone was ready for the off. After a great start to the season, confidence was good.

Within a minute, one of the Slough players was carried off with an ankle injury. How would this affect them (or us?). It quickly became apparent that this Slough side was well drilled and very

much up for the game. For the first 5 minutes, they were camped in our final ¼ and made forays into our D at will, and the Banbury defence was creaking at the edges. Banbury just couldn’t get the ball up the pitch. Worrying times….

Within 10 mins, Slough had managed a number of on-target shots, which were well saved by our

super stand-in goalie – Sammy Bates; still, we struggled to get the ball up the pitch. In fact, it wasn’t until 12 minutes in, that we managed to get into their half, but it came to nothing. Banbury

continued to soak up the pressure, and after 16 minutes Rosie Gowing was shown a green card, and Slough had a short, which was clearly well-practiced and the ball was in. One – Nil Slough.

Slough continued to man-mark and press Banbury and it was difficult to make any inroads. After

Rosie returned, Banbury slowly began to work things out and get more up-field, but unfortunately, Slough won another short after 21 minutes and despite it being well-defended, the weak Slough shot bobbled and bumped and dribbled into the goal. This was disappointing, but considering the pressure, not unexpected. Two – Nil Slough.

After 24 minutes Maddie was sent off for 2 mins for using the shoulder. Nothing came of being down to 10, but Banbury was still having great difficulty breaking down a very well-organised Slough side. Perhaps, Banbury was giving them too much time and space…? 6 mins from halftime, Slough broke fast and hard, and from the edge of the D, a rocket shot hit the back of the net. There really was nothing Sammy could have done about it. Three – Nil Slough.

Shortly before half time, Banbury broke upfield, and for the first time this half entered the Slough D, but it broke down and came to nothing, however, was this a sign of what was to come?

Half-time saw the team have a well-earned rest after such a hard first 35 mins. It needed an

impressive team talk to turn things around! The message from Hobs was to go out and enjoy it, take it to them and be brave and adventurous, and not give them the luxury of time on the ball. Do you know the old saying about “a tale of two halves”? Well………

The second half started and Banbury was right on it. They looked far more direct and pacey and

within 2 mins were in the Slough D! From the side, it looked like it might have been a short to us, but alas it wasn't. However, this was good pressure. As the game progressed the team was determined to try to turn the game around regardless.

Four minutes in, Slough attacked again, but that came to nothing, but it was now real end-to-end stuff, not so much one-way traffic. They quickly got another short, but this was well defended and came to naught. Back and forth it went (this was much better from Banbury), and Libby made a great break supported by Nat, who ran onto the ball, but before she got her shot off, the goalie was out to push it away.

Nine minutes into the second half saw Clemmie and Nat combine well and we were in their D again – foot! Short to us. A well-worked short followed, but Maddie’s shot was blocked. This started a long period of constant Banbury Pressure. Slough was now struggling to get out of their half. What a turnaround. It wasn’t until 13 mins in that Slough managed out of their half, but Banbury was dealing with them easily. This was much better – c’mon Banbury Ladies!

Sixteen minutes in saw a lovely break by Jecca and Charlotte into the Slough D. Another short to Banbury. Clemmie hammered the ball high into their net, but too high for it to count. It rocketed in so fast that no one managed to get a deflection on it, unfortunately, which would have meant it would have counted.

Eight minutes from the end and Clemmie had another shot that looked goal-bound, but it needed help to get over the line, and unfortunately, it was a bit high and Nat could only “chest” it in, so no goal. Hard lines Banbury. 7 mins to go and Maddie had a great dribble down the pitch, but her shot was well saved by their goalie who was earning her corn this 2nd half.

Six minutes to go saw another Banbury foray towards the Slough D which saw another short won. It was all Banbury at this stage. No goal came from the short, but yet another Short was awarded. Still, no goal came. Slough was defending their goal well!

Four and a half minutes to go, another Banbury Short; three and a half minutes to go another Banbury short. Could we pull one back? Unfortunately not!

With time ticking down, Banbury got another short in the last minute, which didn’t go to plan, but

fell to Evie who was up the pitch supporting the forwards; her shot was hard and on target, but it

was well blocked by the Slough defence, but it was blocked illegally; another short followed. In all, Banbury won 2 more shorts and everyone was up trying to force it in, but the Slough defence

survived the onslaught and slapped it away. Final whistle - Three – Nil Slough.

Talk about “if only”. The first and second half Banbury performances were like chalk and cheese.

Well played Banbury. Perhaps a lesson was learned today for us to start quicker, believe in ourselves, and not give the opposition too much time to do their thing.

Plenty of MVP nominations as it was a good team performance, but with all the votes in, Maddie

McCarthy is the winner. The famous DOD was again voted for today, and Harriet was the unanimous recipient of that, for forgetting an item of clothing – and that is all that will be said about that!

Bryce Wilkinson

Ladies 1s Manager 09/10/21

Photo: Becca Atkins chasing down the ball.

Photo: Evie Wilkinson driving through the opposition's defence.

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