Middlesex Women concluded their Southern Counties Competition programme of matches with a 3-1 victory over a lively and much improved RAF side at Rectory Park last Wednesday evening.
Manager, Craig Nicholson included 5 new players in his squad and they all made creditable debuts. We started well. In the 5th minute the ever dangerous Ashley Cheatley challenged visiting keeper Laura Parsons, won possession and squared across an unfortunately empty goalmouth.
Ashley’s persistence won her the ball again in the 15th minute and she released Kasha Petit, whose perfectly judged lob found the top corner of the RAF goal.
We enjoyed most of the possession in the first half but the RAF came more into the game as it progressed. Our custodian, Lucie White, looked solid on her debut. She left her goal line to kick clear from the eager visiting strikers and comfortably handled everything else that came her way.
RAF striker, Nicola Symons was felled in a dangerous central position, in the ‘D’ just outside our penalty area. Lucie White saved the resultant free kick from RAF skipper, Cat Beaver, high up.
Manager Nicholson made several changes for the second half and made full use of his substitute options throughout that period.
We scored a second goal 7 minutes after the interval, the ball entering the net directly from Lavana Neufville’s in-swinging corner.
However, the RAF hit back and halved the arrears in the 63rd minute. They won a free kick near the goal line just outside our penalty area. Cat Beaver’s free kick was headed towards goal from close range but the effort was parried by Lucie White. RAF substitute, Katie Winder, who had just entered the action, was on hand to score her first goal in RAF colours.
Our visitors, urged forward by their skipper Cat Beaver, now enjoyed their best period of the game, which flowed rapidly from end to end.
With Ashley off of the field, Lavana Neufville took over the central striker’s role for us and made several dangerous forays up the middle. She produced a save from the keeper, was dispossessed in the act of shooting and then shot narrowly wide.
At the other end Lucie White dived to save bravely at Nicola Symons’ feet.
Lavana headed home our third goal from Danielle Maloney’s cross in added time.
Middlesex: Lucie White (QPR), Nadia Peters, Charlotte Baker (both Ashford Town (Middx), Anya Kinnane (UCFB), Rachel Keightley (Denham United), Alissa Down (Ashford Town (Middx)), Kasha Petit (QPR), Sue Kumaning (Hounslow) (capt), Samantha Gabian (New London Lionesses), Ashley Cheatley and Lavana Neufville (both Ashford Town (Middx)).
Rolling Substitutes: Katie Ackerman (Denham United), Merl Redhead-Ling, Millie Cutler (both QPR), Samantha Read (Headstone Manor) and Danielle Maloney (UCFB).
Manager: Craig Nicholson Assistant Manager: Jacob Ballheimer Coach: Tom Mayall Physio: Katy Bignell.
Royal Air Force: SAC Laura Parsons, Cpl Ash Housley-Stott, SAC Sam Wylie, Fg Off Emma Hollingsworth, Cpl Rach Howes, SAC Rebecca Wadelin, SAC Jeannie Gillespie, Sgt Cat Beaver (capt), SAC Nicola Symons, LAC Lauren Cassin and LAC Meg Anderton.
Rolling Substitutes: SAC Mollie Lambert, SAC Emma Connington, Lawren Biggs, Cpl Katie Winder and LAC Stevie Cook.
Manager: Sgt Michelle Perkins.
Referee: Robert Reid Assistants: Garrett Eeles and Mark Jolley (all Middlesex FA).
Full match photography available courtesy of chris benn