The Middlesex FA women’s team played its second match of the season in the Southern Counties Cup Competition at Uxbridge FC on Wednesday evening against the Army, who were playing their first game in defence of the trophy which they won last season. A very close and entertaining contest resulted. It was one of several exciting clashes, which have illustrated the excellent quality of this particular competition this season.
Middlesex mounted the first threatening attack when Ashley Cheatley had a close range effort cleared off of the visitor’s goal line. Then our keeper, Kelly Cooper, who had a fine game, made a diving save from Hayley Sloan.
Ashley attacked up the left and her low cross flashed across the face of the Army goal, just out of reach of the incoming Alissa Down.
The Army came very close to scoring when their talented striker, Libby Dixon slammed the ball against our cross bar in the 23rd minute.
However, Middlesex went ahead 9 minutes later. Rachel Blackburn lofted the ball over the Army defence and Ashford Town (Middx) striker, Ashley Cheatley raced past the defenders to lift the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
We held the lead for barely a minute. The Army bounced back with a determined attack. A desperate clearance in our penalty area went straight up into the air and as it descended, Libby Dixon volleyed it home.
Libby forced her way through our defence again and stung Kelly Cooper’s palms with a fierce drive. Then our skipper, Kasha Petit worked her way across the front of the Army penalty area and delivered a looping shot, which just cleared the bar.
We regained the lead in the 39th minute. Lavana crossed low from the right and Ashley hit it first time into the corner of the net.
Our visitors had a chance to equalise before the intertval. Zoe Stewart broke clear but Kelly Cooper saved with her feet.
Half time score: Middlesex 2 Army 1
Lavana made a penetrating run through the Army defence but was thwarted by the advancing custodian, Daisy Burnfield.
The Army equalised 5 minutes after the break. Jemma Dinning’s free kick from wide on the left was collected by Libby Dixon, who slotted the ball home,
However, we regained the lead within 2 minutes through a well struck shot from around 25 yards by Alissa down, which eluded the diving Daisy Burnfield and nestled in the corner of the net.
Soon after this the Army were forced to change goalkeepers. Nicola O’Donnell took over from the valiant Daisy Burnfield, who had taken a knock to the head and was suffering from double vision.
There were no more goals but play flowed from end to end and both sides had chances. The ever dangerous Army striker, Libby Dixon seized upon a rebound but her goal bound shot was charged down.
Our visitors suffered a blow when Libby was forced to retire with what appeared to be an injured hamstring.
Sophie Cheadle finished a good move by firing just wide. Following a good run, Jemma Dinning was tripped in a dangerous position just to the side of the penalty area but the resulting free kick came to nothing. Ashley was narrowly wide with a cross shot from Sophie’s pass. Micaela Lopes won the ball and took it out of our penalty area up field to set up Mariko Engles, whose shot was saved by Nicola O’Donnell.
Nicola then held on to a well struck high free kick from Alissa Down. Jemma Dinning had a close range shot blocked. Then, Nicola saved high up from Ashley, during the lengthy period of stoppage time, resulting mainly from injuries to Libby Dixon and Lavana Neufville. Lavana had to be assisted from the pitch with a painful leg injury.
Referee Tom Simmons handled the match very well, ably assisted by his Middlesex FA colleagues, Chris Fernandes and Paul Mitchell.
Final score: Middlesex 3 The Army 2
Kelly Cooper (Enfield Town), Kara Howes (Denham United), Chelsea Orridge-Golding (Tottenham Development), Zemeka Clarke, Mara DeLuca (Queens Park Rangers), Rachel Blackburn (Denham United), Kasha Petit (Queens Park Rangers) (capt), Georgia Miller (West Ham United), Ashley Cheatley (Ashford Town), Alissa Down (Denham United) and Lavana Neufville (Ashford Town).
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Katie Taylor (Camden Town), Mariko Engles and Micaela Lopes (both Actonians) and Sophie Cheadle (Denham United).
Manager: Craig Nicholson Asst Manager: Kayleigh Saunders Physio: Katie Bignell.
L/Bdr Daisy Burnfield (RA), Capt Emma Askins (REME), Cpl Lois Jacobs (AGC-RMP), L/Cpl Jessica Treharne (RLC), Cpl Lisa Ward (AGC –SPS), WO2 Kristina Wright (AGC-RMP), L/Cpl Jemma Dinning (REME), Cpl Hayley Sloan (AMS), Cpl Libby Dixon (AGC- SPS), Sgt Zoe Stewart (AGC-SPS) and L/Cpl Mica Taylor (R Sigs).
Substitutes: Sig Laura Murray (R Sigs), Cpl Nicola O’Donnell (AGC-RMP) (gkpr), Gnr Shannon Bradley (RA), Gnr Rebecca Jones (RA) and L/Cpl Analise Ryan (RE).
Head Coach: WO2 Mags McAteer (AAC) Coaches: SSgt HE Lee (AGC-SPS), Sig Wells (R Sigs), SSgt Robinson (REME) and SSgt Crozier (AMS).
It was, as usual, a pleasure to welcome Colonel Alison Curnow and her troops to Uxbridge.
Our thanks are due, once again, to Uxbridge FC for allowing us the use of their excellent facilities and for their superb hospitality.
Matchday photos can be found here courtesy of Chris Benn.