Having not played since 2 December due to snowy and frosty weather, the Ladies 1s were looking to turn round their pre-Christmas form with a good performance against local rivals Tring.
With a harsh frost first thing in the morning and other games cancelled, it wasn't looking too promising. The WhatsApp group saw lots of action in the morning as the squad kept a close eye on weather updates and were rewarded with positive news just after 12.
After a good team warm up we started the first half positively, with no evidence of the poor passing that besieged the team before Christmas. The defence were strong, and there was plenty of space on the right-hand side for Helen to open up play down the right-hand side. Alice and Steph worked well in the middle and we looked good when we moved the ball around Tring rather than trying to pass through them. Tring had a couple of short corners in the first half but some valiant defending, particularly from Helen as our first runner throwing everything into that first tackle, kept the ball out of the goal but unfortunately resulted in her having a spell off the pitch when her knee saved a shot. We went into half-time at 0-0 but definitely on top.
We started the second half with the same enthusiasm and were rewarded in the first 10 minutes with a well-worked goal, starting from a great through ball from Alice to Sarah, who slipped the ball to Mel across the D and she slotted it home. Such was the anxiety to ensure that the ball went in the net, Sarah skidded in at the left-hand post to be on the safe side, but failed to nick the goal from Mel and her only reward (apart from the assist) was some skin off her knees - good job she hadn't planned to wear a dress in the evening...
Tring had some good passages of play in the second half, and some rather last-ditch defending from Mrs Baxter earned her a green card for probably the best stick tackle of her season so far. Alice also managed a green card too and, during this passage of pressure from Tring they managed to scramble away a goal. Whilst we'd have been happy with the draw at the start, I think many of us were disappointed that we couldn't hold on to the win, with the match ending 1-1.
A great team performance and a good start to 2018 - player of the match votes were shared out across a number of players, with special mention to Helen, Alice and Vicky, but awarded to Steph for her tenacious play across the pitch. Thanks go to David and Peter for excellent umpiring and to our supporters on the sideline, including our new mascot Sebastian!