The Under 16 Girls qualify for the National quarter Finals with a hard earned draw at Worcester and retain their place at the head of the Western MCF league. Manager Kieran Newey sends the following match report;
Staffordshire U16 Girls travelled to Worcestershire with a depleted squad and an accident on the motorway meant the
teams preparations were hampered even before kick off but despite this they flew out of the traps with Freya Gregory
producing a number of mesmerising runs and it was Freya who produced a moment of brilliance when scoring direct
from a corner in the 5th Minute.
The game was a real contest with no quarter given by either team and Staffordshire had Courtney Mace and Issy Anderson winning a number of midfield battles supported superbly by Lydia Hudson, Macey Turvey and Charlie Braganca,
Staffs defensive unit of Lucy Copeland, Ella Spears and Captain Jenny Hesketh restricted Worcestershire to efforts from distance but seconds before half time Worcestershire drew level when Staffs failed to deal with a long ball and Worcestershire won the ball outside the box and drove forward to equalise with their first serious effort on target.
However the scoring was not over and Worcestershire added a 2nd with a goal in injury time when a free kick from 45 yards found the top corner.
Jenny Higgs was working tirelessly in search of a goal and her skill and confidence saw Staffordshire creating a number of opportunities with Demi McCalliog driving them forward.
Grace Tolmie was assured in the Staffordshire goal and encouraged her team forward as they continued to build pressure with Lydia Hudson, Charlie Braganca and Freya Gregory all combining well, however it was Worcestershire who added the fourth goal when a mistake at the back saw Staffs conceed a free kick on the edge of the box and a sweet strike curled into the top left corner with 15mins remaining.
Staffordshire continued to show patience and were stretching the Worcestershire rearguard and Demi McCalliog thumped an effort against the crossbar with the rebound bundled wide following another goalmouth scramble.
With 12 minutes remaining a flowing move down the right saw Ellla, Macey and Lydia combine and an early ball in was controlled on the chest by Charlie Braganca , who swivelled and hit a sublime volley into the top corner from the edge of the box
Staffs had a number of corners and went close as they searched for the equaliser which would see them qualify for the National competition and a couple of free kicks in promising positions offered them hope.
As the clock ticked down into the last 5 minutes a goal mouth scramble saw a number of brave blocks by the Worcestershire defence but tenacious play from Jenny Higgs saw the ball fall to Lydia Hudson who calmly fired home through a crowded area.
A late injury to Freya Gregory took the gloss off an otherwise outstanding performance from the entire Staffordshire Squad who battled to the end and thoroughly deserved to get a result from the game.