An early afternoon kick off for the Belles, who were without Ava as she was unwell. Ava was also due to be captain so Lola stepped up in her absence.
Before the game coach Scott highlighted some improvements and one thing from the last game was a lack of shots on goal. So the Belles were set a team goal to attempt 5 or more shots from outside the penalty box.
The game started well with Iris seeing lots of the ball on the right, but also playing some nice passes and finding Scarlet with a lovely cross field pass. The energetic Alice saw a shot blocked, then a short corner presented an opportunity for Monica to fire a shot which again was blocked. The Belles continued to look composed and played the ball around well particularly in defence. Lois was sweeping really well but also had options with Chloe, Monica and Lola being good outlets at full back.
The Belles got the breakthrough, Ffion turned and had a scampering Caitlin in support. A lovely through ball saw Caitlin bravely beat the goalkeeper and score. It was a really good goal and fantastic to see Caitlin making more of them runs into the box.
Esme then made a good save to deny the opposition on the counter attack, then as the wind picked up a high and hopeful shot hit the crossbar and the Belles cleared.
The Belles kept playing with confidence and a second followed. The jet heeled Ffion driving by the defender and slotted the ball into the corner. As half time approached another opportunity was created this time for Darcy who struck wide.
At halftime, we asked the girls to continue being patient and keep wanting the ball.
The second half began with more of the same from the Belles, some excellent footwork from Oliwia started a move which was nearly finished by Scarlet but she struck wide from close range. Scarlet then provided a lovely Cruyff turn past her marker and sent a brilliant cross which just missed Iris.
The opposition were still trying to counter but the Belles defence was excellent. Lois continuing her brilliant form, covering so well but also looking composed in possession. Lola was peeling out wide and making options which is something we have been trying to encourage. Then on the left side Chloe and Monica were so strong in winning possession it was fantastic to see.
A ball out to the left from Caitlin found Freya, who cut inside and sent a bending shot which looked destined for the far corner but it was incredibly saved by the goalkeeper. Then the opposition countered again as Lois came across to win the ball from the striker. However the referee gave a penalty which was very harsh. The spot kick was amazingly saved by Esme who flung herself to the right to claw it away. A wonderful moment for Esme who had a really good game and this was a brilliant moment for her.
The Belles passing continued and a third goal came. Ffion finished low to complete her brace. Yet again Ffion's work rate was exceptional and she led the line so well.
The Belles saw the remainder of the game out as they bounced back from a difficult game last week. It was pleasing to see the Belles looking composed in possession and more importantly being patient. They also achieved their team goal of 5 plus shots from outside the box which again is another positive thing.
Player of the match went to Esme. Being a goalkeeper can be difficult at times but Esme is showing improvement with lots of aspects of her game. Her penalty save was fantastic and it was lovely to see her make a huge contribution in not only keeping a clean sheet but also in a good win for the Belles. Well done Esme and well done girls!