14/09/2019 Amazelles U15s v Hebburn Town Honeys

Amazelles in winning form for their first home game of the season

The first home game of the season saw another fixture against a new team to the league, this time Hebburn Town who like the Amazelles had lost their opening game of the campaign. The Amazelles were confident of picking up the points but playing resources were stretched with Lily P, Noor, Sara, Freya and Rachel unavailable and Stella (hand) and Mackenzie (knee) carrying injuries.

The picking of the starting line-up was easy with 11 players at pitch side, they all started, Ellie came in for her first start and would play alongside Stella in central defence, with Niamh pushing up into midfield alongside Chloe, Liv leading the attack and Mackenzie taking over at left back in the changes from the game in Middlesbrough the week before. Hebburnhad been well beaten in their first game in this division but the Amazelles were told to forget that and concentrate on their own performance in order to impose their ability on the game. In bright sunshine the game got underway with the home team attacking the school end. 

From the kick off it became obvious that the vast majority of the game would be played in the Hebburn half, they tried to pack their defence with every player getting behind the ball on the occasions they weren’t in possession which meant that the Amazelles defensive players were left largely marking nobody and ultimately meant that Lily touched the ball only once throughout the whole half. The sheer number of players in defensive positions for the visitors made it difficult to create chances in the very early stages, but once the Amazelles started playing with a bit more width rather than trying to attack straight down the middle the chances came thick and fact. A cross from Esme was missed by a defender and Olivia stabbed a shot towards the goal, the Hebburnkeeper unconvincingly manged to make the save. Jess had two shots blocked as she skipped around defenders and after an impressive passing move Chloe hit a low shot just wide of the left hand post as the Amazelles totally dominated. Rebecca was in the thick of the action in the next few minutes, firstly picking up a loose ball in the Amazelles half and driving up the left wing away from two markers her cross was superb and saw Jess arrive at the back post, under pressure her header went narrowly wide. A Mackenzie throw in was helped forward by Niamh to Jess wide on the left, she played a ball back to Chloe who slid a ball into the box to Rebecca who stepped inside her marker but shot over the bar. From the resulting goal kick she intercepted the weak kick and hit a first time effort wide of the left hand post. The deadlock was broken when a lofted ball forward from Harriet gave Liv the chance to run at the visitors defence, she cut into the right side of the box and laid a ball into Jess, she shifted the ball onto her right foot but saw her effort blocked, Liv had intelligently continued her run and the rebound fell to her and she rolled the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net, off the far post to make it 1-0. 

It wasn’t all good for the Amazelles, Ellie had to come off for a short rest due to a headache and Mackenzie’s knee was becoming a real concern – reducing her mobility but she refused to come off to rest it. Niamh dropped into the back four while Ellie had the rest she needed, she returned a few minutes later to take up a midfield role allowing Niamh to pick up her usual role at the back. So many chances were created, Jess (numerous times), Liv, Esme, Chloe and Rebecca all went close but failed to hit the target – a long range effort from Harriet was juggled by the keeper but she kept the ball out of her net. As half time approached Stella linked with Ellie to play the ball wide to Esme, she helped the ball onto Jess who took it in her stride and hammered a shot into the bottom corner of the net to double the Amazelles lead. The chances kept coming, a Chloe shot was kicked away by the keeper and a Liv shot across the goal went just wide, the Amazelles were completely dominant and half time came with a 2-0 lead for the girls.

Mackenzie needed further treatment and strapping at half time, an offer was made to play her in goal in the second period to rest her knee, I am not sure who was more concerned about the offer, Mackenzie or Lily who looked a bit worried about the prospect of playing out for the second 40 minutes. Mackenzie declined the offer and advised she wished to stay at left back. The coaches made a tactical switch – with a new formation for the second half, three at the back, Mackenzie, Stella and Harriet, two midfielders, Niamh and Ellie (Esme and Rebecca stayed in their winger positions) Chloe and Jess now had free roles in behind Liv as the central striker. A very attacking set up with a challenge to get goals!

They responded immediately with Ellie winning a ball in midfield and spreading the play to Esme, she shifted the ball to Jess, who crossed just ahead of Liv and the ball was cleared. Hebburn had changed their goalkeeper at half time and she made an excellent save from her own player after a Jess corner was deflected goal wards by a defender for the keeper to hold on at close range. An excellent attack down the left started by a Mackenzie header saw Rebecca beat her opponent, she pulled a ball across goal to Esme at the back post with a great chance, her shot was powerful but it flew wide of the post. A very similar chance followed minutes later, Ellie played an excellent ball to Chloe who fed Liv in the box she moved inside her marker and played the ball across the goal to Jess on the back post this time, she thumped her shot over the crossbar. The third goal was a peach, Stella fed Niamh who pushed a clever pass through to Ellie who’s influence was increasing as the half went on, she found Chloe who nipped a ball to Jess just inside the box, Jess cut inside her marker and drilled a shot across the goalkeeper into the back of the net to make it 3-0. The pressure was relentless and Hebburn were hanging on, but credit to them they never stopped trying. Harriet won a tackle on half way and fed Ellie, she spread the ball to the right and Esme, she battled through a tackle before finding Liv on the edge of the box, she turned away from her marker and pushed a pass to Jess, her shot from just to the right of the penalty area flew over. Ellie went on a powerful run which took her from the half way line to deep into the penalty area, her shot went across the goal and wide. Ellie thought she was in with a great chance to score when she picked up a Niamh pass, unfortunately she was clearly off-side and the referee blew his whistle for the free kick.

A very rare Hebburn attack saw them break down the Amazelles right, an attacker used her pace to get to the edge of the box, but her final touch was too heavy and Lily was able to come out and collect the ball. Rebecca crossed into the box, Liv challenged with the defender at the front post and the ball broke free to an unmarked Niamh around the penalty spot – was this to be her first goal for the side, she made very good contact but her aim wasn’t quite right and the ball sped wide of the left hand post, dad John neatly folded a £10 note up and put it back in his pocket. A pacey attack saw Esme win a corner, Jess and Chloe played the corner short, the initial cross was blocked but Jess picked up the rebound and lifted a shot over the keeper and into the roof of the net to make it 4-0 and register her first hat-trick of the season. Jess turned provider soon afterwards when she found Chloe unmarked in the box, she fired over the keeper and into the net from close range to make it 5-0. Mackenzie needed treatment when she clashed knees with a Hebburn forward, but she was determined to carry on despite being in pain. There was time for one more goal, Harriet and Esme created the space for Jess who took the ball into the space on the right side of the box, and clipped a shot over the keeper into the net – with Liv and Ellie in close quarters just in case the ball needed a little help in getting over the line. A Rebecca drive flew just wide and a Jess shot on the turn was too close to the keeper. The referee blew for full time with Hebburn pinned back in their box unable to do anything other than try to keep the score down. 

The first win of the season – 3 points and a clean sheet, 6 goals and countless chances created on another day the score would have been well into double figures.  The coaches asked for acknowledgement of Mackenzie’s bravery, playing when not fit and clearly in pain determinedly  playing the full game. They also praised Jess for another goal filled outstanding performance but the woman of the match award went to Ellie on her full debut who did well in the back four but was even more impressive when she moved into a central midfield role. Another home game next week against Consett, always a good game and an opportunity to build on this win with another 3 points.  

07/09/2019 – Amazelles U15s v Boro Rangers (Away)

Season number three at 11 a –side started with a trip to Middlesbrough to take on Boro Rangers, who are the loosely disguised Middlesbrough FC U 15’s Academy team.  The squad for the new season had been trimmed by two with Aiesha and Isla not returning for pre-season training.  Anumber of players were unavailable, Mackenzie (knee injury), Rebecca (Junior Great North Run), Olivia (Jetlag) and Ellie (family function) which left 12 players to take on the Boroside who had moved into the Russell Foster league after winning their Teesside league last season.  A mix up with kick off times saw Rachel not at the ground for the start of the game so the side kicked off with the formation which ended the game against Deerness the previous week with Niamh in a central defensive midfield role behind a three in midfield of Chloe, Noor and Esme. In bright sunshine but with a strong wind blowing across the pitch the home side got the game underway.

Boro started quickly and after good, sharp passing in midfield they slid a ball through to one of their strikers, it took an excellent interception by Stella to deal with the danger. A second attack once again saw impressive team-work a ball into the box on the right hand side saw a Boro wide player collect the ball but then a heavy touch took it out of her feet and allowed Lily P to force the ball away for a throw. Borowere on top and won a corner after a Harriet tackle on theircaptain, the corner was met by Stella who cleared well, the ball however fell to a midfielder who carried the ball to the edge of the box before curling a shot into the back of the Amazelles net to make it 1-0 with little over 3 minutes on the clock. The Amazelles restarted the game and almost immediately captain Chloe was elbowed in the back as she carried the ball forward, as she fell she banged her head on the hard turf, requiring treatment. The referee not for the last time didn’t give a free kick – explaining that he felt it was a fair tackle, not a view shared by the Amazelles coaching team who were on the pitch making sure Chloe was ok. The game restarted with a throw in to Boro who promptly broke away down their right and their captain was released inside the box, she stepped inside Stella’s tackle and finished impressively into the bottom corner to make it 2-0, much discussion on the Amazelles touchline of the non-free kick decision which ultimately resulted in the goal. Boro were running riot and made it 3-0 with a close range finish with only 7 minutes on the clock. The Amazelles settled after this difficult start and gradually got into the game, they almost pulled one back when Sara broke up an attack and found Jess wide on the left, she skilfully went past two defenders before crossing into the six yard box, Freya was first to the ball but her shot lacked power and the goalkeeper was able to make a save. Chloe and Noor combined well minutes later after a Niamh tackle, Chloe spread the ball wide to Esme who found Niamh again – she lifted a ball over the Boro defence, Jess had got the better of her defender again and rolled a ball across the front of the goal, Noor arriving at the back post was just too far behind the ball to get the touch it needed to bring it back to 3-1. Borocontinued to push forward when they could, a tremendous drive came back off the crossbar after one attack and the Lily made an excellent save away to her right to concede a corner from the next attack. Jess came close to the first Amazellesleague goal of the season when she received the ball from Chloe on the left edge of the penalty area, she jinked inside of her marker and clipped a shot over the keeper but unfortunately it hit the bar rather than the back of the net.

A long ball forward saw Stella and the Boro captain battling to win the ball, Stella got there first to concede a corner, the Boro skipper barged Stella in the back as she played the ball forcing them both to fall heavily to the floor. Stella onto her injured arm and the Boro player awkwardly on her knee. Stella got to her feet and was re-assured her arm was ok – the Boro player wasn’t so lucky, her right knee cap had been dislocated but had then popped back in. The game stopped for a round 10 minutes as she received treatment and then was taken away by car to hospital. 

During the delay Rachel arrived to add to the options available to the Amazelles coaches. After the re-start a brilliant through ball from Chloe saw Jess with some space in the box, her shot beat the keeper but went wide of the target. As half time approached Lily P blocked a shot, the ball going out for a corner, the ball into the box was half cleared but only to a Boro player on the edge of the box who riffled a shot into the roof of Lily net to make it 4-0 at the break.

Half time saw a change in shape with the more familiar 4-4-1-1 formation return, Harriet took a break with Lily P taking over at right back and Niamh, who had impressed in midfield going back into the back four, Rachel was introduced in midfield in a central role with Noor moving out to the left.  The second half got underway and the signs were promising. Rachel held off two challenges before finding Esme who slid a ball through to Jess who carried the ball into the box and fired a shot past the home goalkeeper but into the side netting. Minutes later Chloe and Jess combined, Jess’ cross was too high for the keeper, Freya was inches away from heading the ball into an empty net, but despite her lung busting run just couldn’t reach the cross. Boro used their substitutes well and once again took the upper hand, a ball through the centre of the Amazelles defence saw a striker break into the box, a brilliant chase and tackle from Stella stopped her adding to the score-line. An attack down the Boro right resulted in a driven cross into the box which was bravely met by Niamh who cleared powerfully. A quick breakaway started by Noor saw Freya flick the ball on for Jess to chase, it just had too much pace and went through to the home keeper. Boro got their 5thwhen an attacker was first to react to a ball into the box and steered a shot across Lily into the net. Not long afterwards a Sara block resulted in a corner, the corner saw a downward header palmed out by Lily, Lily P got this year’s goalkeeping audition out of the way early this year pushing the ball back to Lily with both hands as it bounced towards her, the referee missed it!! Lily grabbed the loose ball and Lily P with a massive grin trotted back to her right back position. Another corner soon afterwards saw Lily P in the action again, she brilliantly cleared a shot off the line, but the ball spun up into the air and an unmarked Boro attacker was able to nod the ball into the back of the net. Chloe won a free kick on the Amazelles right about half way inside the Boro half, Jess played the ball in behind the high defensive Boro line, Lily P who had come up for the free kick, challenged the keeper but she held on under pressure.

With 20 minutes to go Lily P took her turn for a rest with Harriet returning. A good Amazelles move down the right involving Rachel and Esme saw Chloe pick up a pass, she played a ball into Jess who shot from outside the box, it looked like it was heading for the top corner but the Borokeeper used her seemingly telescopic arms to reach up and hold the ball just under her crossbar. The game was heading towards the final whistle when Boro added a further two goals, the first a through ball catching the Amazelles defence and allowing a striker to run beyond them, Harriet tried to get back but from a tight angle the striker managed to find the back of the net. Minutes later a shot from the edge of the box found the back of the net too as Boro extended their lead to 8-0. A very late tackle on Jess late in the dying minutes saw her having to come off with a shoulder injury, Lily P going up front for the last few minutes. No further goalmouth action and the referee brought the game to an end with the three points staying in Middlesbrough.

Lots to be positive about despite the score-line, mainly the fact that irrespective of a defeat being the likely outcome from very early in the game there wasn’t one head that went down, nor one player who at any stage gave anything less than 100%.  All the players could be proud of their performances and the coaches emphasised that on another day the levels of commitment, desire and quality seen would have resulted in points. No arguments about the result the better side won – but the Amazelles will be better prepared for the return games later in the season.

The coaches mentioned a few players at the end of the game, in fact all the players were impressive, Stella and Jess were outstanding, but they gave special mention to two incredibly hard working players, firstly Esme who battled from start to finish and gave one of her best performances in the shirt, secondly and just pipping Esme for the Woman of the Match award Freya who ran herself into a standstill and with a bit of luck could have had two goals on the day.  

07/09/2019 – Divas u14s v Brandon Utd

First game of the season for the Diva’s and the new coaching team was an away game at Brandon Utd whites. The game kicked off with a new looking Brandon team having the best of the first 5 minutes before Ellie Williams scored her first ever goal for the Diva’s with a nice right foot shot into the corner, this settled the girls down especially when the Brandon forward danced through to have her shot saved by Rhiannon. It wasn’t long before Charlotte made it 2 after good play from Emily, then Emily made it 3 with a fine individual goal. Tina scored the 4th with a through ball by Emily, the fifth goal was again scored by Tina with an assist from Charlotte. The sixth goal was a good team goal started at the back and then assisted by Masie for Emily to convert, Charlotte made it 7 before half time with another assist from Emily. Even in the first half and into the second half the Brandon girls heads never went down and kept plugging causing the Diva’s a few problems but eventually the goals came again with Charlotte completing her hattrick with another fine finish, Isabella came on and added 2 goals one from a throw in and the other from a corner taken by Charlotte. Amy grabbed 2 goals which she deserved with assists from Emily O Mara and Elle Mae, the 13th goal was completed by Tina with an assist from Rhiannon completing a hattrick for Tina. A big thank you for the support from the parents Thomas and I are happy coaches.

Captain Charlotte’s Take:

A solid performance from the Divas today, everyone put 100% effort in and we got a well deserved win. Well done Divas! Great start to the season!

Divas WOM: Isla