The Ladies played their 4th and final local derby of the season against Southend and Benfleet’s 3rd team and for the second week running the team sheet was full to bursting with a total of 16 players available. This did not included the umpiring Christine Baker but did include a trio of the same family (Charlotte Humfrey, Francesca Humfrey and Liane Iles) and the for once on time Gemma Fitzy.
The threes started with the ball and with the first move of the game came the first goal scoring opportunity following some great work between the forwards. The ball was saved for the first time by the Southend and Benfleet goalkeeper. The 3s did continue to dominate the first 10 minutes of the game with the hard work of youngster Lauren and Charlotte Humfrey really showing. There was also hard work at the back with Gemma Fitzy and captain Gail Swain work very hard to try and stop the fast paced counters from the home side.
The game did start to level out and a number of short corners were blown. Some more questionable to the very large crowd for both sides. Eventually, Southend and Benfleet scored one of there by using the tactic of push to the top of the D and whack it at goal. Unfortunately for Goalkeeper Eva Swain and the defence the ball slipped under the kickers and in to the goal much to the delight of the hockey mums and dads supporting the home side.
The 3s did not put their heads down after this and played very hard to get the goal back as quick as the possibly could. Changes were made around the pitch with Rachel Crowhurst, Lauren and Jenny Gallott all heading on to the pitch to switch things around. There were definitely opportunities for the blues but the home side once again broke on a very fast counter which allowed them to double their lead. This was despite the best efforts of Ali Snelling and Gail Swain who tried to put some very hard tackles in to try and stop the flow of the game in the build up to the game. Following the second goal, Charlotte Humphreys went on a very fast and skilled run all the way up to the attacking D, only to be fouled, however the ball slipped through the the birthday girl Liane IlesIles (who doesn’t look a day over 21), to tap in on the back post much to the delight to everyone who had not heard the umpires whistle. The goal was disallowed and the threes had to settle for a short corner instead. This resulted in a very close shave for the home GK but nothing for the hard working 3s.
It was not long however, before the threes scored. Forcing a fast break down the pitch led to Rachel Crowhurst scoring a goal in her new shirt to close the deficit. The squad felt like they should be tying but definitely took what they could ending the half just a strong as they started.
Half Time: Southend and Benfleet 3s 2-1 Southend Ladies 3s During half time, both captain and coach gave spirited speeches and some light hearted banter to the team and said that the game was there for the winning and that there was nothing to fault other than some very minor details. Mostly supporter Emily Daelemans’ hideous jacket which resembled a bin bag.
The 3s started very strongly during the second half and to most people dominated the half apart from a handful of counters from the home team. There was great work from Stella Pierce, Kristina Drake and Gemma to make sure that the ball did not full in to the defending half and the team barely gave the oppositions defense time to breathe. On one occasion that they did, an attacker expertly took out ‘keeper Eva Swain which somehow led to to a short corner for the home side. Fortunately, luck had favoured the brave captain who dramatically saved the ball on the line.
The 3s had countless attempts on goal and tried out a number of different set ups to try and get the goal they thought they deserved. On one particular short, Nicola Wells’ (Late) shot was deflected of a defending stick which led to Sheila Taylor jumping higher than an NBA player to try and hit the ball in to the goal. Sadly, this went just wide.
Following a number of attacks for the 3s, the opposition got one of their trademark counters underway which led to one of the most unimaginable incidents to occur. Jenny Gallott got injured following a very painful elbow to the face. This was to the horror of all of the away support and team who thought that legends were immune from all forms of maiming on the pitch.
The 3s got back in the game following the injury and continue to increase the pressure on the defence. Nicola Wells decided that she was to defend the injured Jenny’s honour and clattered the ball into a defenders shin. However, the resulting short did not hit the backboard and it felt as if the luck had run out for the 3s on this particular wet and cold January afternoon.
The game came to a close and the result wanted was not given but there was prosecco and homemade cake for Liane Iles birthday so it wasn’t that bad in the end. Maybe on a different day with better weather and a bit more luck, the game would have ended very differently.
Full time: Southend and Benfleet 3s 2-1 Southend Ladies 3s
Teams player of the match sponsored by belly dancing: Gail Swain Captains player of the match sponsored by self raising flour: Danni Brooks Number of lost voices: 7 Number of ice packs used: 1 Most uttered sentence: ‘My toes are freezing’ Most hideous waterproof jacket: Emily Daelemans Best attempt of spectacular goal: Sheila Taylor Length of match report: War and Peace Birthday Girl: Liane Iles Best Captain: Gail Swain Best Coach: Melanie Taylor-Lamb