Monday, October 12, 2020

It's 1-0 again as Warriors and Clarence Zebras clash

Photo:  Yet another over-hit pass is watched forlornly by Olympia's Olivia Bomford and a relieved Clarence Zebras defender Selina Steventon [PlessPix]

(Women’s Super League, Warrior Park, Sunday, 11 October 2020)

Olympia Warriors 1 (B Davies 35)

Clarence Zebras 0

HT:  1-0   Att:  80   Ref:  S Plomaritis

Olympia Warriors:  Farrow  -  Johnson, Black, Leszczynski  -  M Cane, Gubb, Roberts, Michael, M Chambers  -  Bomford, Davies  (Subs:  I Cane, C Chambers, Russell, Teale, Pinkewiecz)

Clarence Zebras:  Cook  -  Steventon, O’Brien, Dixon, Gill  -  Kannegiesser, Burt, Gadon, Marmion  -  Nichols, Berry  (Bowden, Rand, Richardson)

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Zoe Nichols and Olympia's Olivia Bomford in a fight for possession [PlessPix]

Clarence Zebras coaching staff and players must still be scratching their heads about how they lost this top-of-the-table Women’s Super League match.

The defeat has almost certainly cost them the title as they now trail Olympia Warriors by 8 points.  The game in hand effectively means nothing as the Warriors are almost certain to win their three remaining games.

Clarence Zebras matched the Warriors in almost all aspects of the match.  Their Achilles’ heel, however, was their inability to finish.

The visitors has two good chances in the opening minutes as they pressured Olympia, but Zoe Nichols and Allie Berry missed.

In the 7th minute, a perfect cross from Madeline O’Brien was headed tamely wide by Nichols.

Photo:  Olympia's Sophi Leszczynski puts the pressure on Clarence Zebras' Allie Berry [PlessPix]

Olympia were struggling at this stage.  Playing with the wind, they kept over-hitting their passes to their forwards.  Bonnie Davies is fast, but even she gave up the chase at times for passes that were overhit and rolled out for goal-kicks.

Her one real chance in the early stages came in the 16th minute.  Her shot was firm and well directed, but Clarence Zebras goalkeeper Shelley Cook turned the ball wide for a corner.

Olympia’s defence was under pressure and, midway through the half, Warriors captain and goalkeeper Jenna Farrow conceded a penalty when she brought down Nichols, who was through on goal.  Farrow redeemed herself and put a huge dent in Clarence Zebras’ confidence when she saved Selina Steventon’s spot-kick.

Photo:  Olympia goalkeeper Jenna Farrow clutches the ball after saving a penalty [PlessPix]

Photo:  Gleeful goalscorer Bonnie Davies (left) calls to Innocent Michael to join her in celebrating [PlessPix]

That seemed to spark the Warriors into life and, 10 minutes before the interval, they got that long pass forward exactly right.  Leah Gubb played a precise long pass forward that cut out defenders O’Brien and Zara Dixon and allowed Davies to run onto the ball and fire past Cook and inside the far left-hand post to put the home side in front.

Clarence Zebras tried to hit back and kept up the pressure and only a brave save by Farrow in the 37th minute in a one-on-one with Nichols preserved Olympia’s lead.

It had taken Olympia more than half an hour to get their long balls forward right so that their forwards could control them.  Two minutes before the interval, another precise pass, this time from Mia Cane, released the galloping Davies, but her excellent shot was brilliantly saved by Cook to keep the score at 1-0 at half-time.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Madeline O'Brien and Olympia's Mia Cane compete in midfield [PlessPix]

Neither side could score in a dour second half.  The hard-working Bronte Gadon in the Clarence Zebras midfield stunted Olympia’s creativity, while the visitors’ forwards rarely got a decent chance against the industrious Sophie Leszczynski and Maddie Black.

Clarence Zebras coach Chris Hey put goalkeeper Shelley Cook in attack with 20 minutes to go, taking off Steventon and putting Alyssa Bowden in goal.   Cook was an accomplished striker in the earlier years of her career before becoming an exceptional goalkeeper.

She tried her best but was not given a sight of goal by the resolute Olympia defenders.

Photo:  Shelley Cook (right) went out of goal to play as a striker [PlessPix]

Photo:  Alysaa Bowden took over in goal for Cook [PlessPix]

It ended 1-0 for Olympia and all three league meetings between these two clubs have now resulted in victory by just the one goal  -  twice to Olympia and once to Clarence Zebras.

Photo:  Olympia's Olivia Bomford steals a march on Clarence Zebras' Selina Steventon [PlessPix]

Olympia midfielder, Olivia Bomford, said:

“It was definitely a tough game.  We always know it’s going to be a challenging a physical and tactical battle against Clarence Zebras.  They’re a good team, and Chris Hey is really smart in how he prepares his team to come out and play against us.  In the past we’ve struggled against them because we tried to win just by playing nice football.

“One thing we really focused on this year was creating that winning edge and developing the mentality that sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to win, and that might mean not playing pretty, nice-looking football.  I think that’s what gave us the edge over them this season.  We added a bit more grit and fight into our game.  We all agreed that to win we needed to put 100% into every battle and I think we went out and did that.  I also have to give a special mention to Jenna, for saving that penalty and really keeping us in the game!

“There’s still 3 games to go, and we’re still focussed on getting the most out of those games.  We’re sitting in a good spot right now, and we’re confident we can hold that place and do one better than we did last year and win it.”

Photo:  Olympia celebrate Bonnie Davies's (second from left) goal that decided the contest [PlessPix]

Photo:  Bronte Gadon was a tower of strength in midfield for Clarence Zebras [PlessPix]

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' Zara Dixon clears the ball ahead of Olympia's Olivia Bomford [PlessPix] 

Photo:  Bronte Gadon doing her work in midfield for Clarence Zebras as Olympia's Caitlin Roberts tries to stop her [PlessPix]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where were the football Gods when we needed them?