County Under 18 Ladies 3 Grinnell BGM 1

Stockport County Under 18 Ladies came away with a decent 3-1 win ,last night at Woodley, against US touring side Grinnell BGM, but it had to be worked for, as the Tigers lived up to their name...... fighting tooth and claw  right to the end in what turned out to be a really competitive.....sportingly fought game. Those used to a diet of Premier League shenanigans, would have been pleasantly surprised with play  tonight- there was not so much as one dive or tantrum all evening- great stuff!  
Coach Durr gets Grinnell warmed up pre match.

For much of the match, particularly in the first half, County held sway thanks to goals from Bethany Clark and Lydia Henshall, but the re-start saw something of a change. Grinnell, with Abbie De Witte and Courtney Hawkins holding things together with heroics at the back, counter attacked through Baylee Kivett, Malia Durr and Morgan Finch, who ran at County with purpose and spirit. This spirit might have crumbled when, Demi Noon, who had started the game in goal, blasted County`s third home with just under 10 minutes to go, but it didn`t, and despite great work by Georgina Corser, County`s substitute  keeper  , the US tourists reduced the arrears with a fearsome strike by Morgan Finch late on, to end the game on a high!
Teams out........

Back to the start then, and both teams probed the other with quick moves, the first chance coming after 3 minutes when Tigers keeper Taylar Smith was called on to beat a fierce shot from Bethany Clark out.....the ball ran loose, to Hannah Mitchell, but she drilled her shot inches wide and it stayed 0-0.
It was Demi Noon`s turn to get busy, in the County goal next, and she did really well to stop Malia Durr, who darted clear on a menacing run.......then Taylar Smith`s once more, and she could only watch as another shot from Hannah Mitchell whistled past the post, after solid defending by Olivia Lockett had prevented earlier moves by Grinnell developing.
Captains meet in the middle.

With Jessica McNair and Charlotte Taylor working well together, County then pushed Grinnell back, but try as they may, they could not find a way through as  Charlotte Hawkins and Baylee Kivett stepped up to the plate with good work under pressure. Indeed they were not alone as Mariah Deppe and Abbie De Witte joined in with some excellent work to repel boarders as County tried to make inroads in the visitors` defensive cover. The defensive work continued to be spirited, and not a little skilful from Grinnell, and when it wasn`t there was Taylar Smith, and she did exceptionally well to stop another shot from the lively Hannah Mitchell.
It went on with County pressing via a free kick that resulted in a lively melee in front of Smith`s goal, but the visitors cover held , as did Smiths resolve and the 20th minute saw another disappointment for Mitchell ,as the keeper charged out to snaffle the ball off her toes at the last gasp. It was compelling stuff....yes....County were having much of the attacking play and looking very decent about it as well, but the US side were defending heroically and it began to look that a goal would be a long time coming, and then one came, thanks to Bethany Clark whose hard work saw her in on goal . Her shot was a good one, but so was Smith`s response and she beat it out bravely, but the ball ran clear to the predatory Clark and she blasted it home to give County the lead.
First Half action.

 County piled on the pressure after this, and once again it was Mitchell doing the pressing, but De Witte was on hand to stop the rot for the visitors, preventing Mitchell from getting a strike in......thus....when the corner came to nothing, Grinnell had it on the break via Durr and Finch  who probed the County back line deftly down the left.
It was County`s turn next and Charlotte Taylor threaded a superb ball into the last third for Bethany Clark to run onto, but the liner`s flag intervened for offside and that was that. Then......things took a turn for the better for the blues when a free kick saw the dangerous Hannah Mitchell darting into the box where she sent a blistering drive goal ward for Smith to deal with. Smith responded well and appeared to have made the save, but when the ball nestled against the post Lydia Henshall followed it in and forced it home to double the hosts lead!
More First half action.

County had the wind in their sales after this , and Catherine Eastwood was unlucky to see the liner`s flag raised after good work from Shauna Miller and Sarah Leonard, had set her up nicely. Then another brilliant ball from Charlotte Taylor sent Leonard clear for a shot on goal, but Taylar Smith kept it out with a decent save.       
That was it for the first half, and with County ringing the changes personnel wise, they found the pressure on them at the back, where Morgan Finch was again unlucky to see her run down the left that took her to the by-line, get no reward. was not all Grinnell as heroics from Abbie De Witte prevented the Cheshire side from adding a third, and a snap shot from Shauna Miller missed out by a whisker. 
Second half play.

Having weathered the initial second half storm from Grinnell, County set about re-establishing control, and a neat move saw a Charlotte Hislop shot hit a defender and ricochet wildly to Shauna Miller who looked on to score. Unfortunately she also looked offside and the liner saw it immediately much to Grinnell`s delight! Within seconds County repeated the move, but with the same frustrating result.
Grinnell waited their chance and then hit on the break through Finch, and the US team seemed to have made inroads when a foul saw the referee point to the spot. Unfortunately the kick was missed and the chance was gone, and for a time it seemed that maybe the visitors` morale might suffer as a consequence.  It didn`t.....and ,marshalled by Chloe Anders, County did well to contain them, as Durr and Finch tore into the fray with relish, ably supported by Kivett who was getting forward to supplement the defensive work.
Late action.

Eventually County had weathered another storm and tried to fashion one of their own, only to see Shauna Miller`s shot charged down, and Faye Smith inches off with a neat shot. But the second half was proving to be a much more closely competitive affair than had the first, and Grinnell emphasised the fact with a fine piece of skill from the increasingly impressive Baylee Kivett that almost saw Malia Durr in, one moment.....and the next forced a hurried clearance off the line by one of a line of blue shirts!

The Tigers were doing well, and the County keeper( now Georgina Corser) earned applause by rushing out to deny Durr who had scooted through menacingly. County however, were by no means done themselves, and Demi Noon was unlucky to see what looked like a goal bound shot strike Megan Rowe who lay flat out in the box.
That was unlucky, but fortunes pendulum took a violent swing the other way almost immediately as a loose ball at the back from the US defence, allowed  goal hungry Demi Noon a sight of goal, and she made no mistake....blasting a veritable rocket beyond Smith into the net.
The pressure mounted from County after this and some might have expected a goal rush for the blues, but nothing of the kind.....instead Georgina Corser was called on to make a fine save to stop Finch reducing the arrears. Then Grinnell thought that they had scored.....but hadn`t.....someone in blue had denied them at the very last gasp.....but the visitors persistence paid off , as with a line of her colleagues queuing up for a shot, Morgan Finch made Coach Durr`s night by beating the keeper with a neat finish.
Tigers defend like Lions !

A dazzling run down the left by Demi Noon then set Georgia Vernardakis up , but she just couldn`t force the ball home in the crowded box, and neither could Bethany Clark who found Taylar Smith still on her toes and able to thwart her.
Time for some late attacking from Grinnell, and a good stop in response from  Corser, and that was the end of what had been an excellent game.
County had won 3-1, but our guests from the USA had won many friends.
We wish them every good fortune for the remainder of the tour of the UK , and thereafter!

County line up;
Demi Noon, Olivia Lockett, Faye Smith, Charlotte Hislop, Megan Rowe, Charlotte Taylor, Jessica McNair, Hannah Mitchell,Georgia Vernardakis, Bethany Clark, Lydia Henshall.
Substitutes; Catherine Eastwood, Chloe Ankers, Georgina Corser,Sarah Leonard, Shauna Miller.

Grinnell BGM line up:
Taylar Smith, Josie Bailey, Abbie De Witte, Courtney Hawkins, Peyton O`Dell, Aubrey Smith, Baylee Kivett, Mariah Deppe, Malia Durr, Morgan Finch, Jessey Neeley.     Substitute: Katie Cooper.

Ian Brown

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