The Women’s Reserves returned to Lakeside for the second time in 2016, looking to continue their undefeated run against Lara United.
Lara had made a very positive start to their season by winning three of their four matches and finding the back of the net an impressive 22 times. Injuries and illness continue to plague the Senior and Reserves squads, leaving SMFC Reserves Coach Stuart Smith no choice but to field a squad of just eleven players, including two stepping up from the Under 16s.
The first half was a relatively balanced encounter between the two teams, although South had a number of opportunities pushing forward into the final third. After the break, it was Lara that got on the scoreboard first. A defensive error from a back pass allowed Lara striker Maddi Dragt to go one-on-one with keeper Alexia Karatzikos and she made no mistake in giving Lara the advantage.
South lifted immediately and within a minute the girls found space on the counter attack. Surging into the area, the shot was on target but a quality save from the Lara keeper Miki Tatlic prevented the equaliser. The South girls continued to press high and attack using the width of the Lakeside pitch to their advantage. A superbly lofted kick came in from the ‘Clarendon Corner’ side and Ciara Singleton was there to head the ball into the bottom right corner of the net for the equalising goal.
Not content with the draw, the girls continued to push and it was again a fast break that gave them the advantage. Kala Rosebirch provided an excellent through-ball and Bianca Cachia pounced to beat the keeper and put South 2-1 ahead. That’s where it ended, giving the Women’s Reserve team a second win of the season, with the girls still undefeated in 2016.
After the match, Caitlin Greiser spoke with winning goal scorer Bianca Cachia, who shared her thoughts on the match. “I think we played really well as a team. We didn’t start at half-time like we usually do, we started from the first minute. Our midfield came together, played through-balls and helped get the ball up front so we can actually shoot. We took a lot of shots today – something we haven’t been doing lately – and clearly it paid off.”
“Hannah [DeLorenzis] played an absolutely amazing game. She was pressing all the time and did really well. Also Ciara [Singleton] getting the ball up the front, she really moved the game forward for us” added Bianca when talking about the positive influence her team mates had on the match. About the opposition in Lara United, she added that “they are a really respectable team. They kept their heads up throughout the whole game and kept calm about the match. They were a good team to play against.”
Caitlin asked Bianca about her winning goal in the last minute of the match that delivered the win for the home team. “I was injured for the whole game. I tried to stay there and support the passes and play through-balls so we could shoot and get goals. It worked and we did it!”
Caitlin also spoke with Coach Stuart Smith, who reflected on the match. “The 2-1 score says to me that the team that played the better football won, which I credit completely to the girls. We struck to our principles, our game plan and at the end of the day, although we’ve conceded a number of injuries, I thought we were the better team and deserved the points. All eleven of the girls deserve credit, Ciara [Singleton] specifically bossed the game today. She won everything and she got a goal straight from the corner so I am really pleased for her. I thought our forwards did really well when in possession of the ball in the middle.”
“It was really a key that the girls never gave up. We copped a soft goal, I’m not going to lie about that. It was a really poor goal to concede, but they stuck their heads up and stuck to the game plan. So really all eleven girls deserve credit and Ciara is my player of the game. Lara were a really physical team and I can see why they have been scoring goals every week as they are very quick up front. They play some good passing football, however at times we were able to easily break them down. They’ll do well if they keep playing the football they are playing.”
The Women’s Reserves are back in action on Friday night at BT Connor Reserve against the Preston Lions.