On a scorching hot Saturday afternoon, the Dutch women’s As took to the Happy Valley pitch for our first game of the season against Aquila As.
With a number of new players to the club and only a few training sessions under our belt, we were prepared for some disorganisation on the field, a battle with the heat and a game of finding our feet.
But we needn’t have worried! The team gelled quickly, communication was strong and the work we had done in training really paid off.
We took control of the game very early, with the forwards and midfield making it incredibly difficult for the opposition to break through our press. We controlled possession and where they did break through, our defenders were well organised and strong in the tackle.
Before long, our persistent attacking led to a short corner, which Liesbeth smashed straight into the goal taking us to 1-0 up. Play continued in our favour, with good passing and some excellent skills from many of the players.
One attack led to Charlie receiving the ball on the inside of the D, she demonstrated her silky skills, skinning the keeper and pushing the ball to the back of the net. 2-0 up for half time!
After a half time pep talk, plenty of water and an entire packet of energy tablets (never before happened!), we returned to the field to continue what we’d been doing.
The second half was much the same as the first - we dominated possession and our press kept the opposition at bay. When they had any opportunity at attacking our defenders worked their magic and Lan saved the day in goal.
Our persistent attacking meant we had lots and lots of chances on goal, though a strong keeper on their team and a little trouble converting some of these chances kept us goalless for a lot of the second half.
But patience eventually paid off… Maud, who dominated the right side of the field throughout the game, received the ball and used her pace and skills to dribble into the D. She looked like she was going to slap the ball, but quickly realised she had little space so she dodged a few more players and reverse hit the ball taking us to 3-0.
The whistle blew for the end of the game just as Aquila had been granted a short corner. In true team spirit everyone used the last of their energy to quickly close the opposition down and clear the ball. The game was an excellent start to the season - all players worked hard, worked together and just about survived the heat.
The victory and the dehydration certainly made that post match beer taste even better!