County Under 18 Ladies 9 Frodsham 1
Stockport County`s Under 18 Ladies team rang the curtain down on a highly successful season on the main pitch at Woodley this afternoon with a resounding win against visitors Frodsham. The margin of victory ....9-1 ....was wide and fully reflected the Stockport Clubs overall grip on the game, but it did not quite tell the whole story, as Frodsham made a real fight of it for an hour or more, pegging County back at one stage to 2-1 via a direct free kick from Meg Noley, who had kept goal for part of the game for her side. Once Jessica McNair`s shot on the turn went in ,however, the flood gates opened and County piled on through them adding 6 more , including a Class A brace from Hannah Mitchell.
If County`s was an excellent team performance and it was, with everyone contributing, much credit must go to Frodsham for making a real game of it.
The realities of running football teams at this level were underlined boldly before the start as it became apparent that Frodsham only had 9 players to call on. Thankfully ,and admirably ,County agreed to field 9 themselves, but this meant Frodsham`s 9 had to battle on for 90 minutes , which was tough given that the old current bun was blazing away all afternoon, whereas County made good use of the available substitutes and it showed late on !
The first 8 minutes or so were something of a procession as, stand in keeper Beth Middleton performed numerous small miracles to keep a thoroughly goal hungry Stockport forward line out.
First it was Bethany Clark with a shot from Demi Noon`s pass, but Middleton saved it......then Hannah Mitchell stepped up with a shot after Noon and Clark had worked to open a gap- this went narrowly wide, but Noon`s follow up effort didn`t and Middleton did extraordinarily well to keep this one out! Twice after this Clark harassed the visitors back line coming close ,and Noon along with Mitchell tested Middleton further without success.
The procession was interrupted, 9 minutes in, by Alice Pemberton who darted clear winning a corner, but this was cleared as Catherine Eastwood, Lydia Henshaw and Faye Smith closed ranks at speed. Encouraged perhaps..... Alice Dilworth sent Molly Whitehead clear with a neat bit of work, but again County`s cover, in the shape of Lydia Henshaw, held firm and danger was averted.
Things were beginning to stir for Frodsham, and Chloe Ankers took a hefty knock during this period, that saw her hobble off after treatment. Dilworth and Whitehead continued to try to work something useful from nothing, but, as before, the blue back line held out , with Hemshaw and Charlotte Taylor showing up to good effect.
The Frodsham defence was doing its best to emulate County`s ,and Lucy Malone, more than once, was a rock at the back under pressure, and when all else failed there was Middleton who pulled off another excellent stop , on 20 minutes, to deny the energetic Demi Noon. Demi would not be denied however and within a minute or so her determination and drive saw her on the spot to fire home an unstoppable shot to open the scoring!
Frodsham came back at the blues straight away after the goal and Faye Smith did brilliant work to stop the lively Molly Whitehead, as did Cath Eastwood moments later. This was a real match for sure and for certain Faye Smith realised this and another top notch bit of work from her saw Whitehead denied again!
|Molly Whitehead on the charge tracked by Cath Eastwood.|
The first clutch of County personnel changes came next and there was an almost immediate impact with shots from Charlotte Taylor and Shauna Miller going close, and Sarah Leonard unlucky to see a shot miss narrowly after Miller had thoroughly harassed the visitors back line.
It went on with Faye Smith pushing on forward to set Miller up with a chance, but Miller`s run was blocked by Lucy Malone, and Henshaw`s follow up effort climbed over the bar.
|Lucy Malone foils Shauna Miller.|
Frodsham changed keepers at this stage, swapping Meg Noley for Beth Middleton who had done exceptionally well for well over half an hour, but there was no change out of Malone who combined with Alice Evans to twice thwart decent County moves. Then Noley continued where Middleton had left off with a really fine save that saw her tip a shot by Lydia Henshaw over the bar at the very last gasp! Great stuff!
|First Half action.|
Did I say `Great stuff`? Well...............more followed from Noley who made a terrific save on the line to keep a strike from Georgia Vernardakis out, and followed it up with another remarkable bit of work to stop Shauna Miller from forcing the ball home from close in.
Help for Noley eventually came from Alice Dilworth , so Frodsham survived ,but it was busy around their goal , and it was reassuring midst this to note that Cath Eastwood, Faye Smith and Lydia Henshaw were firmly in control at the other end!
Thus far ...Frodsham had held out pretty well, but within sniffing distance of the break they were undone as a through ball down the middle filleted them good and proper allowing Shauna Miller to dart clear before slotting County`s second goal in.
The second half opened with Faye Smith in the van pushing Frodsham back and Charlotte Hislop was twice unlucky with shots ,whilst Beth Middleton ( back between the sticks again)made good saves to deny Georgia Vernardarkis and Jess McNair. On and on it went with Megan Rowe in there with a couple of efforts that on another day would have gone in.
During all this County attacking, it was reassuring to see Faye Smith step up and steady things as others piled on up the park. But the 51st minute saw County`s cover breached as Molly Whitehead stole clear, and Nyemh Johnson had to react quickly to stop the rot! Then......just when we thought it was safe..............County conceded a free kick. It was way out on the left touchline so there was no danger was there, except nobody had told Meg Noley, who promptly lifted a prodigious kick over the County keeper`s head into the net!
|Good catch under pressure by Nyemh Johnson.|
It was 2-1 and game on then , and Johnson had a bit to do for a time after this ,doing it well ,most notably a brave save at the feet of Molly Whitehead who had again sneaked clear.
Frodsham had battled hard and made things a tad lively for a time at the County end, but past the hour and the game suddenly swung back again when Jess McNair won a corner. This was fed back to McNair by Charlotte Hislop and it was 3-1 as a shot on the turn beat the keeper comprehensively.
There was the odd break engineered by Noley and Pemberton for Frodsham, but Demi Noon saw this off, and it was mainly County doing the attacking with Hannah Mitchell and Jess Mc Nair offering good options going forward for the blues.
|Georgia Vernardakis on the charge....|
Georgia Vernardakis had been unlucky moments earlier with one shot, but the 66th minute saw her on the ball again and this time she made no mistake leathering a beauty past the keeper to make it 4-1.
Two minutes later it was 5-1 , as Hannah Mitchell, who moments earlier had worked wonders to keep an impossible ball in play, produced magic once again to send a shot thudding into the bar , and from there into the net. That was a cracker!
|It`s Mitchell....it`s a goal !!!!!|
Midst the mayhem Emily Ross was unlucky with a brave run down the right, but that was just a brief interruption in the County attacking wave that suddenly took on tsunami proportions as Sarah Leonard exchanged passes with Georgia Vernardakis before thumping number six home.
|Another goal on the way......|
It was one way traffic now with Hannah Mitchell doing the directing as a stream of crosses pinged into the box from her. Noon went close.....as Beth Middleton did really well to keep a thunderous drive from her out. This was really brave from Middleton who took a nasty knock as Vernardakis went for the ball with an excess of oomph! It could not last could it?......and......
With 9 minutes left Catherine Eastwood belted a real gem into the net from distance.....................
A minute later saw Hannah Mitchell cut inside on an irresistible run before leaving the keeper flat footed with a cool/ cool finish!.......................
Four minutes later and the scoring was completed when Charlotte Hislop`s hard work was rewarded when she beat the keeper with a shot from the edge of the box.
County tried their hardest after this to make it 10......but that would have short changed the plucky Frodsham side more than somewhat! Credit to them for a sturdy fight! Credit also to County, who completed an excellent ....double winning season. Here`s to more of the same next season!
County line up( inc subs)
Nyemh Johnson, Catherine Eastwood, Faye Smith, Lydia Henshaw, Charlotte Taylor, Demi Noon, Hannah Mitchell, Sarah Leonard, Chloe Ankers, Megan Rowe, Georgia Vernardakis, Jessica McNair, Bethany Clark, Shauna Miller, Charlotte Hislop.
Frodsham line up:
Beth Middleton, Meg Noley, Lucy Malone, Emily Ross, Alice Pemberton, Eve Pennington, Molly Whitehead, Alice Dilworth.