Courtney Munns, Katie Rice (Capt), Lilly Green, Lauren Hole, Georgina Adams, Harneesh Lall, Imogen Jennings, Emma Kern, Ruby Juchau, Zoe Cox, Lucy Hosie
Subs, Ocean Gregory, Chelsey O’Conner, Nikki Frazier
Scorers, Ruby Juchau x2 Lauren Hole x1
POM Zoe Cox
Denham were the opponents today in an important league match at the Middlesex Stadium. The Stones went into the game on the back of two tough matches against a good Headstone side. But were aware this would be another close game. We decided to rest Hannah Gunn and Mia Perez-Diaz and with other key players away with the first team, it was a chance for the new players in the squad to get some more experience with the team. The game started with Denham United playing high tempo, good passing football which took us a bit by surprise. But we dug deep to keep the wave of attacks at bay. However a superb long range strike by the Denham midfielder flew past Courtney to give them the lead. Lauren Hole then outpaced their defence, only to be fouled, earning the centre half a yellow card. Zoe swung over a perfect free kick for Lauren to head across goal for Ruby to smash home the equaliser. Minutes later Lauren was impeded again by the same player but managed to keep her feet, (to her credit) but the chance was squandered. The referee had played a good advantage but stopped the game to give the defender a final warning. Denham continued to press and scored a soft second goal aided by some poor defending, Half time 1-2
The instructions from the coaches at half time was to get closer to the opposition and win more of the second ball, to get us on the front foot. Wealdstone were aware that Denham were getting tired towards the end of the first half, and that our superior fitness and desire, would see us home. After another foul, Zoe swung over another fine cross which eluded the Denham keeper giving Lauren a simple tap in. Now the game was ours for the taking, and with the Denham side struggling to last the ninety minutes, something we knew would happen after our previous games with them. Ruby went on a mazy run, left three Denham defenders for dead, with a burst of pace and smashed home an unstoppable left foot shot to win the game for The Stones. A goal fit to grace any game. Denham went in search of a late equaliser but Courtney produced a grand save to see us home and secure three points.
These games are won by determination and hard work on the training ground. Today we had to change our approach to the game and conditions. The heavy pitch had a bearing on our approach to the Match. Today wasn’t a day to play pretty football and we adopted a more direct style. The players carried out our instructions to a tee and being able to go to a plan B so easily, shows maturity within the squad. Good teams win ugly sometimes, and we did that today. I think our sudden switch to the long ball game confused Denham, and they couldn’t work out a way to stop the pressure mounting. Sometimes needs must, and there are more than one way to win a game. Our squad are the fittest players I have seen at this level of football. That coupled with a steely determination to win will stand them in good stead for tougher tasks ahead. They deserve a great amount of credit for their effort, (despite missing four key players) and we at Wealdstone FC are very proud of them all. Finally a real pleasure to have a quality referee and well done to both teams for playing in a fantastic spirit.
Tony Rice – Wealdstone Reserve Team Manager