The Middlesex FA women’s team hosted their Hertfordshire counterparts on Wednesday evening at their new Rectory Park Headquarters. An entertaining match, played with a continuous background accompaniment of Diwali fireworks, ended in a deserved 2-0 victory for Middlesex. Although, on the evidence of this match, Hertfordshire have improved considerably since last season, especially in defence.
Middlesex took the lead in the fourth minute. Paige Laidler released Chloe Sampson, whose cross was headed home by Lavana Neufville.
We then had several more scoring chances with Ashley Cheatley making several dangerous runs through the middle. She attempted to lob over the visiting keeper, Yasmine Walford in a one-on-one situation but Yasmine got her fingers to the shot. Then Ashley fired just over the bar and Yasmine saved well from Paige Laidler.
Ashley ran through the defence again but slid the ball across goal and wide of the far post. Then Becky Fisk cleared off of the goal line after Ashley had rounded the 'keeper.
However, we managed to double our lead in the final minute before the interval, through debutant Alessandra Barreca, who shot on the turn into the corner of the Herts net.
Half-time score: Middlesex 2 Hertfordshire 0
Although we dominated the second half territorially and had most of the possession, we were unable to add to our goal tally. Hertfordshire defended very well and also we failed to capitalise on some good approach work.
Ashley shot over from close range following a good run by Justine Buckmire. Kasha Petit was excellent in midfield. She demonstrated good ball control and made some penetrating runs. On one occasion, she went past three defenders before placing her shot just wide.
Chloe Sampson was also prominent and brought two good saves from Charlotte Bolland, who had taken over in the visitors’ goal.
On the one occasion that she was tested in the second half, Lizzie Rose, in the home goal, saved at full stretch from Erin Davis.
Final score: Middlesex 2 Hertfordshire 0
Lizzie Rose (Denham United), Sheryce Slater (Enfield Town), Chelsea Orridge-Golding (Actonians), Page Laidler (QPR Development), Mara DeLuca (QPR), Rachel Keightley (Denham United), Sue Gyamfi-Kumaning (QPR), Ashley Cheatley (Ashford Town (Middlesex)), Chloe Sampson (QPR Development), Alessandra Barreca (Actonians) and Lavana Neufville (Ashford Town (Middlesex))
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Justine Buckmire (AFC Wimbledon), Anya Kinnane, Kasha Petit (both QPR) and Kara Howes (Denham United)
Manager: Craig Nicholson
Assistant Manager: Daniel May
Head Coach: Jacob Ballheimer
Physio: Katy Bignell
Yasmine Walford (Royston Town), Katie Farrell (Harlow Town), Katie White (Hitchin Belles), Becky Fisk (Royston Town), Erin Davis (Cambridge City), Ellie Lovelock (St Albans Ladies), Sammy Edger (Royston Town), Jess McNamara (St Albans Ladies), Molly Norman (Enfield Town), Eva Ramsey and Becky Scott (both Royston Town)
Substitutes: Charlotte Bolland (Watford) who was goalkeeper for the second half, Charlotte Hindmarch (Stotfold), Kelsey Millen (Pro Direct Academy) and Danielle Maloney (Watford)
Manager: Joanne Williams
Assistant Manager: Lewis Endacott
Our thanks are given to the Rectory Park management team, who hosted the event superbly and to referee Eddie Clifford and his assistant referees, Mark Sennett and Paul Mallet, for controlling the on field activities impeccably.
At the conclusion of the match, in which she made her sixth appearance, Mara DeLuca was presented with her Middlesex FA cap.
This was our second match in this season’s Southern Counties Cup Competition, following a 3-3 draw against the Army at Aldershot. Our final group match, against Essex, is scheduled for Wednesday 12th December at Rectory Park.
For a full selection of images from the game, please click here