The Middlesex FA women’s team travelled to Aldershot on Thursday evening to play their Army counterparts in their first match in this season’s Southern Counties Cup Competition.
Despite a torrential downpour before the kick-off, which made the pitch surface skiddy, an excellent game ensued. We held the lead three times only to surrender it on each occasion.
We went ahead after 8 minutes through Ashley Cheatley, who exploited a misunderstanding in the home defence to slot the ball home. We held this lead for 7 minutes before Army striker, Libby Dixon seized upon a poor defensive header to level the scores.
Play flowed from end to end for the remainder of the first half and both sides had chances but there was no addition to the score. An excellent move ended with the Army ‘keeper saving at Ashley’s feet. The Army’s Mica Taylor was just wide with a curling shot from a pass by Demi Edwards. Then Anya Kinnane made a very timely tackle on Mica, after the latter had apparently penetrated our defence. Then Lizzie Rose made a superb save, tipping a 30 yard drive from Zoe Stewart over her crossbar.
Libby Dixon went on a penetrating run but shot into our side netting. Kasha Petit took the ball through the Army defence but pushed the ball slightly too far ahead, allowing ‘keeper Teri Harfield-Brown to gather it.
Half-time score: Army 1 Middlesex 1
A wicked cross from the ever dangerous Libby Dixon flashed across our goalmouth without attracting a touch. We regained the lead almost immediately afterwards in the 55th minute. A good run by Molly Peters set up Ashley, who netted with aplomb. Referee Rim Rimmington played an excellent advantage in the play leading up to this score.
We held our 2-1 lead for just over a minute. Then, Libby Dixon’s shot from Mica Taylor’s pass trickled over our goal line off of a post to restore parity.
Zoe Stewart volleyed a rebound, following a corner, just over our goal. Lizzie Rose competently handled a long shot from Mica Taylor. At the other end, Ashley set up Molly, whose first time shot was just off target.
The Army had two more chances before we went ahead once more. Libby Dixon picked up a good through ball but fired narrowly wide and then Lizzie saved at an incoming forward’s feet.
Our third goal emanated from a brilliant individual effort from Ashley Cheatley, in the 82nd minute. She controlled the ball in a deep position, took it past two defenders and netted.
Ashley then set off on another penetrating run but her final cross shot eluded both the far post and the incoming Molly Peters.
The Army came back and good pressure by our defence forced Libby Dixon to shoot just wide. However, they equalised in the 86th minute when Kelly Aldridge stabbed the ball home, again off of the post, following a goalmouth scramble.
Ashley again broke through the home defence but shot narrowly wide. Then she burst through the middle into the penalty area where she went down under a tackle but our players’ appeals for a penalty were to no avail.
Sheryce Slater prevented an Army winner in the closing seconds by hooking the ball off of our goal line.
Final score: Army 3 Middlesex 3
LCpl Teri Harfield-Brown (AMS), WO2 Krissy Wright (AGC RMP) (capt),Cpl Jessica Treherne (RLC), Cpl Hayley Sloan (QARANC), Cpl Louisa Anderson (RLC), Cpl Lucy Foreman (AGC RMP), Sgt Zoe Stewart (AGC SPS), Pte Demi Edwards (QARANC), Cpl Libby Dixon (AGC SPS), LCpl Mica Taylor (R Sigs) and LCpl Kelly Aldridge (REME).
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Bdr Daisy Burnfield (RA), LCpl Anna Ryan (RE), LCpl Rachel Rigby (RLC), LCpl Sophie Jones (AGS SPS) and Gnr Abi Hyndman (RA).
Head Coach: WO2 Mags McAteer
Asst Coaches: WO2 Mike Robinson and Sgt Lee Barry
GK Coach: Cpl Nikki O’Donnell
Physio: SSgt Alan Crozier.
Lizzie Rose (Denham United), Sheryce Slater (Enfield Town), Micaela Lopes (Actonians), Page Laidler (QPR Girls Develpoment), Mara DeLuca, Anya Kinnane, Kasha Petit (capt) (all Queens Park Rangers), Alissa Down, Ashley Cheatley (both Ashford Town (Middlesex)), Chloe Sampson (QPR Girls Development) and Lavana Neufville (Ashford Town (Middlesex)).
Substitutes: Rachel Keightley (Denham United), Justine Buckmire (AFC Wimbledon) and Molly Peters (Enfield Town).
Manager: Craig Nicholson
Physio: Katy Bignell
Referee: Major Rim Rimmington MBE
Assistant Referees: WO1 Niall Anderson and LCpl Henry Woodcock (all from the Army FA).
We received the usual warm welcome and excellent hospitality from the Army FA.
We were honoured, as usual, by the presence of the Army Women’s Chairman, Colonel Alison Curnow.
For a full selection of images of the game, please click here