Monday, August 24, 2020

Clarence Zebras overwhelm University, who keep their chins up

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Madeline O'Brien shields the ball and keeps one eye on University's Sophie Young [PlessPix]

(Women’s Super League, KGV Park, Sunday, 23 August 2020)

University 2 (Z Lovell 7, S Steventon 40 og)
Clarence Zebras 10 (I Ferrier 3, C Stalker 9, 10, 19, S Burdack 13, Z Nichols 20, 49, 70, 82, A Berry 57)

HT:  2-6   Att:  70   Ref:  T Butler

University:  Steele;  Farrell, Z Hinds, Ingham, Lovell, Refael, Roach, Shegog, Tadros, O Young, S Young  (Subs:  Dandolo, Herbert, N Hinds)

Clarence Zebras:  Cook  -  Kannegiesser, O’Brien, Steventon  -  Burdack, Burt, Ferrier, Gadon  -  Berry, Nichols, Stalker  (Subs:  Gill, Bowden, Dixon)

Photo:  Four players in awe of Georgia Burt's skills [PlessPix]

University stood no chance in this encounter with one of the title favourites, but they went into the contest with their heads held high and their chins were still up at the end despite conceding 10 goals.

University coach Brad Judge had warmed up keeper Rhiannon Steele with shots and crosses before the game began and it was just as well as she was about to be subjected to a barrage of fire by Clarence Zebras.

The goal University did score was excellent.  It came in the 7th minute following a great run down the left by Sophie Young and a precise cross into the penalty area, where Zoe Lovell hammered the ball past Clarence Zebras keeper Shelley Cook.

That made it 1-1 as the talented Isabella Ferrier had fired Clarence Zebras into the lead after only 4 minutes.  Ferrier had one of the best games I’ve seen her play.  That was her only goal, but she made a few, too.

Photo:  A last-ditch tackle by a University defender foils Isabella Ferrier [PlessPix]

Caitlin Stalker was exceptional on the left and she hit a hat-trick in ten minutes to snuff out any chance of a University revival at 5-1.

Stacia Burdack had scored the other goal in the opening 20 minutes.

Centre-forward Zoe Nichols struck the first of her four goals in the 20th minute to make it 6-1, but the Students went in to the break 6-2 down after Clarence Zebras defender Selina Steventon had helped their cause with an own-goal.  Steventon mis-hit her attempted clearance and the ball looped up and back towards goal, where it beat keeper Cook and dipped under the crossbar and into the net.

There was more shooting practice for Clarence Zebras in the second half and University goalkeeper Rhiannon Steele was well and truly warmed up by that stage.

Photo:  Selina Steventon and Isabella Ferrier try to stop University's Sophie Young [PlessPix]

It was 7-2 four minutes after the resumption when Stalker cut the ball back from the left for Nichols to net her second of the game.

It was the Nichols show at that stage and she took her tally to four with goals in the 70th and 82nd minutes to make it 10-2.

Ally Berry had made it 8-2 on the hour when she squeezed a goal in between Nichols’s two braces following a fine cross from the left by Ferrier.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras keeper Shelley Cook catches a corner [PlessPix]

Clarence Zebras coach, Chris Hey, said:

“I thought we started very strongly for the first 20 minutes then stopped doing what was working for us.

“University came back into the game and I was disappointed with the two goals we conceded, but credit to Uni who continued to apply pressure in their front-third, causing us some issues.

“I felt we played the best football we have for the season in the second half and it was a pleasure to watch the way we moved the ball across the park.

“The intensity dropped off for the last 10 minutes or so, but overall, I felt we are starting to move in the right direction.  All we need now is to be more consistent for longer periods of games.”

Photo:  Clarence Zebras players celebrate a goal [PlessPix]

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