Back to business after long lay-off

NORTHUMBERLAND GIRLS’ U16 LEAGUE

Walbottle...0 Lowick Utd...2

With all of the snow, frost and floods this was the Lowick Girls’ first game since November 13.

Although both teams were rather rusty after the long lay-off and the opening exchanges rather tentative it did not take Lowick long to get to grips with their combative opposition.

Walbottle have a strong midfield and with the benefit of a blustery wind put pressure on Lowick, who were able to defend stoutly and restrict the opposition to a few long-range efforts.

The Lowick defence of Ailsa Skelly, Oriana Frame, Georgia Thompson and Catherine Cass worked well together as a unit and on the few occasions when they were breached stand-in goalkeeper Samantha Grieve was on top form.

Lowick were counter-attacking well and were unlucky not to open the scoring after 20 minutes when Hope Oliver released Beck Robinson on the left only for her low cross to elude Libby Scott, who was racing into the penalty area.

The Lowick midfield gradually began to get a grip on the game with Mel Steven, Holly McKeneley and Kirsten Patterson excelling.

Lowick were now able to control the game for long periods, without creating any clear-cut scoring opportunities, but just before half time Walbottle had opportunities to score and Thompson had to be alert and clear the ball off the line.

With the unfortunate Oliver having to leave the field injured, substitute Leonie McLeod came on and with her first touch almost scored when Robinson again crossed from the left only for McLeod to put the ball over the bar.

The second half began at a frantic pace with the combative Walbottle midfield giving away a series of free kicks.

Steven and McKeneley refused to be intimidated and stuck to their task, eventually dominating their opposition.

The breakthrough came 15 minutes into the second half when a Cass corner was flicked on at the near post by Thompson. This caused chaos in the Walbottle goalmouth and Scott tangled with the opposition keeper and, in the resultant melee, McKeneley hammered home the ball from close range.

There now followed a break in the game, as the keeper had been injured in the build up to the goal. Play resumed after five minutes and to her credit the keeper went on to play well.

With 10 minutes to go Lowick went on to score a well-deserved second goal, which again came from the left. Cass took a free kick from just inside the opposition half. The ball was cleared by the Walbottle defence back towards Cass who strode forward and calmly swung the ball back in towards goal, completely deceiving their keeper as the ball ended up nestled in the top left-hand corner.

In a performance where the whole team played their part for an impressive victory special praise is due to Steven, McKeneley and Thompson who showed tremendous concentration and energy for the whole game.