The preliminaries


Jim Taylor

Following the FA’s latest reorganisation, Middlesex FA currently have four member clubs in the National League Division One South East, at Tier 4 of the Women’s Football Pyramid.   They are Actonians, Queens Park Rangers, Hounslow and Ashford Town (Middlesex), who were promoted after winning last season’s London & South East Regional League Premier Division.  The County’s roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and I attended the match between Actonians and Queens Park Rangers at Rectory Park on Tuesday last, 30th August, which ended goalless.

The teams take the field

Those present on a pleasantly warm evening enjoyed a competitive and entertaining encounter, especially in the first half   Actonians had the better of the possession and created the majority of the scoring chances but were unable to turn this advantage into goals.   Queens Park Rangers were considerably indebted to their goalkeeper, Katie McLean, who was in superb form throughout the match and made stunning saves in the closing moments of each half, the first high up and the second low down.    Also, they must have been very pleased that their defence earned them a point by preventing Actonians from scoring, given the amount of possession that the home side enjoyed.

Actonians dominated play for much of the first half with Samaira Khan producing some good approach work, supported by Dominica Netschova and Maria Ledezma-Viso.   Jessica Drage impressed as a wing-back, making some threatening overlapping runs.

Natsumi Kanno put in a low cross for Dominica Netschova, whose shot was stopped on the goal line.   A cross from Dominica evaded any contact in the goalmouth.

QPR’s Alice Curr made a strong run out of defence up the right and was fouled.  The resulting free kick was repelled.   A high shot by Laura Hennessy was comfortably taken by home custodian, Amy Butler, who then saved well after QPR broke out of defence.

Amy Butler saves a high shot from Laura Hennessey

Actonians went back onto the attack and Samaira Khan went on a penetrating run and cut in, before her shot was blocked by keeper, Katie McLean.   Chihiro Ebine’s cross just eluded Samaira.  Then Alice Curr beat Dominica to a long diagonal ball.


Katie McLean blocks Samira Khan's shot

Natsumi weaved her way through the QPR defence and Katie McLean stopped her shot but couldn’t hold it.  Samaira connected with the rebound but was foiled at close range by Katie.  Next, Katie made a diving save from Maria Ledezma-Viso’s long cross shot.   Then Dominica beat a defender to a cross from Maria but just cleared the bar.

Katie foils Samira again
Katie saves Maria Ledezma-Viso's cross shot

Dominica released the overlapping Chihiro, whose low ball across the face of the goal didn’t attract a touch.   Samaira outjumped the defence but headed Dominica’s corner over the crossbar.   A free kick from around 25 yards by Dominica was saved low down by Katie McLean.

Dominica released Samaira, who was stopped by the weight of defensive numbers.

Katie McLean made a superb save just before the interval, when she managed to touch a long shot by Maria onto her crossbar.

A superb save by Katie just before the interval

Half time score: Actonians 0   Queens Park Rangers 0

The standard of play wasn’t as good in the second half and the game became scrappy at times.   QPR introduced all of their 5 permitted substitutes and Actonians 3.   The proceedings were more evenly contested and Actonians were not able to create nearly as many chances.

A free kick taken out wide by QPR’s Laura Hennessy, bounced in the Actonian’s penalty box, evaded everyone and ran through to the keeper.

Laura Hennessey's free kick bounces through to Amy Butler

A corner by Dominica Netschova, was pushed out from under the crossbar by Katie McLean.   This was followed by 2 more dangerous flag kicks, which were both repelled.

Katie pushes out Dominica's dangerous corner

A diagonal ball into the Actonians penalty box found Ellie Searle, who was eventually outnumbered by defenders.   Then Ellie progressed up the wing but her cross was intercepted by a defender.

Laura Hennessy and substitute Erin Pope both had chances for QPR but were off target.  Ellie Searle then tested Amy Butler with a low cross.

Actonians substitutes made an impact in the closing minutes.  A long free kick by Rhiannon Ishmael was headed away and Rochelle Shakes twice shot narrowly wide.   Then, in the 4th minute of added time, a low drive from Jasmine Williamson brought an excellent save from Katie McLean.

Referee Elle Kaplicz and her team controlled the match admirably.

Final score: Actonians 0   Queens Park Rangers 0

Actonians: Amy Butler, Jessica Drage, Sarah Coomson, Imogen Sinclair, Chihiro Ebine, Naomi Graham (capt), Natsumi Kanno, T’Yana Nee-Chambers (Jasmine Williamson 82), Dominica Netschova (Rochelle Shakes 67), Samaira Khan (Rhiannon Ishmael 82) and Maria Ledezma-Viso.

Unused  substitutes: Jennie Brereton, Mica Lopez.

Manager: Danny Harrigan    Coach: Sinead Friel   Physio: Katy Taylor

Queens Park Rangers: Katie McLean, Alice Curr (Nicole Leys 55), Ellie Searle, Lauren Jordinson, Chloe Gunn, Georgina Lewin, Joanna Blodgett (capt), Laura Hennessy (Kasha Petit 79), Emilia Nygaard-Parsons (Brogan Moore 62), Katie Akerman (Erin Pope 55) and Melanie Hall (Ellen Wardlaw 72).

Manager: Stephen Quashie.

Referee: Elle Kaplicz   Assistant Referees: Amelia Kyriakides and Ben Maskery.

Once again we thank Chris and Jim for their time covering the game, as ever Chris and Jim have sat down and picked out their favourite shots from the match, which can be seeen throughout the report. Chris has also kindly supplied a full album of imagery from the match.

Chris & Jim's Picks

Full Album courtesy of Chris Benn

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