The Middlesex Girls’ Centre of Excellence U 17 team finished their home league programme, on Saturday morning at the Concorde Club, with a fairly comfortable win over their Norwich City counterparts. Both teams contributed to an entertaining match which was competently refereed by Sarah Day (Middlesex).
Middlesex Head Coach Lydia Bedford started with the following line up: Megan Wordingham; Bridie Davies (capt), Lois Colley, Vanna Lee, Hannah Samuels; Beth Overton, Aoife Hurley, Ellie Butcher, Shanade Hopcroft; Andrea Georgiou and Selin Buyukgiray.
The Norwich City starting line up was: Nina Scammell, Emily Woodhouse, Abigail Gower, Amber Cantwell, Chelsie Hurren, Grace Parker (capt), Ellie Smith, Emily Wilson, Chelsea Valli, Alanta Griffith and Ellie Fewkes- Woodrow.
The Canaries made a bright start and in the third minute Lois Colley had to head off her goal line during a goalmouth scrimmage. Play then fluctuated from end to end and Shanade Hopcroft went close for Middlesex from around 25 yards.
In the 11th minute, Emily Watson and Chelsea Valli combined well for Norwich to release Alanta Griffith, who was foiled by the advancing Megan Wordingham. The action immediately switched to the other end of the field, where Ellie Butcher took Andrea Georgiou’s pass to chip over the keeper and put Middlesex into the lead.
Norwich continued to contribute to an interesting contest with the tricky Ellie Smith prominent in midfield and skipper Grace Parker prominent at the back. Chelsea Valli’s high shot was comfortably taken by Megan but a long throw into our goalmouth by Grace posed a problem before it was eventually cleared.
Selin Buyukgiray challenged keeper Nina Scammell for a loose ball in the 29th minute and the ball bounced off of her shin past the visitors’ post. Three minutes later, we doubled our lead through Shanade, whose apparently slightly mishit shot looped high into the net over the helpless keeper, after good approach work by Andrea and Selin.
Then an excellent move, involving Shanade, Andrea and Selin ended with Nina Scammell saving Ellie’s shot but we scored again just before the break. Shanade netted after picking up a rebound off of a defender, who had intercepted a cross field ball.
Canaries coach, Hayley Collison introduced substitutes Lauren Hems and Holly Edmonds just before the interval.
Half time score: Middlesex 3 Norwich City 0
Lydia Bedford changed her goalkeeper for the second half, bringing on Deger Zekai. She also moved Vanna Lee to left back and introduced Sophia Amanor to the centre of her defence.
A period of Norwich dominance produced two scoring chances. Alanta Griffith went close with a difficult volley from Amber Cantwell’s cross and then Grace Parker headed in Chelsea Valli’s cross to reduce the deficit in the 9th minute of the half.
An incisive run through the Canaries defence by Vanna Lee ended with her being upended. Andrea just cleared the cross bar with the resultant free kick.
Lydia made 3 substitutions in the 51st minute, thus giving all her available squad an outing. Sydney Richards, Eloise Wilson and Sian Fiskin replaced Aoife, Ellie and Shanade.
Emily Woodhouse went close for the visitors with a long free kick in the 55th minute but then Middlesex captain, Bridie Davies produced the pass of the match. From about 10 yards in her own half, in the right back position, she hit a fantastic long ball which seemed to take out the entire Norwich team to set up Selin. Selin took the pass in her stride to make the score 4 – 1.
Lydia juggled her team again with 15 minutes to go, reintroducing Shanade, Aoife and Hannah for Bridie, Beth and Andrea.
A dangerous diagonal cross from deep by Chelsie Hurren was headed over by Ellie Smith but the Canaries scored again with 3 minutes remaining. An extremely high lob from around 40 yards by Grace Parker, who was the visitors’ outstanding player, dropped into our net over a stranded Deger.
Final result: Middlesex 4 Norwich City 2