CLP SOCIAL MEDIA OCT2023 415 

 

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” - J.M. Barrie

 

Last week we wrote a match report that looked at our own performance in a very critical manner. It may have been uncomfortable reading for some and with just cause, however, the intent of the match report was not to criticise anyone individually, but to appraise how we performed as a team.

However critical we may be, it is worth noting that we set our standards at such a high-level, that the criteria we judge our team would not be relevant to many other teams in and around where we find ourselves.

A week after what was probably one of the most difficult games that we have ever played in our short history, the 3-1 win away at Wortley, we put in a confident, self-assured, and solid performance to beat them at Manse Lane.

Many would say that winning 4-0, as opposed to 3-1 the week before, doesn’t point to a great deal of difference - they would be wrong. Where there was uncertainty, there was now certainty; where there was hesitation, now there was decisiveness; and where there was an inability to solve problems, now there were solutions found.

This performance compared to last week, was chalk and cheese. The team’s usual understanding between the various players had returned, and, with no disrespect to Wortley, Knaresborough Town Women always looked in control of this game - from kick-off to the final whistle.

Last week Town struggled to create around 12 good chances to score all game, this week they had created more than that in the first 45 minutes.

 

The game

It had been a nervous lead-up to Sunday, given the number of injuries to the squad and the terrible weather conditions that threatened to leave Manse Lane waterlogged. In the end, the forecast for a prolonged spell of rain proved wrong and the 24 hours preceding kick-off saw far less rain than expected.

It was with a great sense of relief that we were able to include most of the players, who had picked up injuries the previous week, in the match day squad, and that a late pitch inspection passed the playing surface as fit to play on.

Right from the off Boro’ settled into the game, initially sparring for possession with Wortley and trying to determine if the visitors were going to utilise the same tactics as a week ago.

Essentially, Wortley seemed to be looking to play a high-line and call for offside, as they had done the previous week - having worked at training on countering this tactic, we were able to cope better this week.

Last week we struggled to create clear-cut chances, not so this week. It’s true that we squandered many of those chances, but it must be said that we were faced with a well organised defence and an excellent goalkeeper who managed to minimise the threat posed by Town’s forwards.

It only took around six minutes for Knaresborough to score their first goal of the game. A move that developed down the left side of the home team’s attack, which Lorna Wilkinson finished superbly with a deft lob over the advancing keeper to make it 1-0.

Last week, Boro’ appeared to be really fragile, and within three minutes of scoring had conceded an equaliser, which set the tone of that game. This week there was no possibility of that happening.

What was surprising, was that Town went in at half time only 1-0 up.

We will not try to kid the reader into thinking that this particular game was a ‘shot fest’, where Knaresborough Town had peppered the Wortley goal with attempts. It wasn’t. But what this first 45 minutes was, was a very assured display of possession football with well-crafted and meaningful attacks.

As with any game, where you are leading by a single goal, there is always the possibility that you can concede, and that could change the whole dynamic. Going into the second half, the home team had to be cautious.

It took until the 62nd minute to settle any nerves and score Town’s second of the game.

A wonderful run down the right-hand wing by Cass Lane, saw the fleet-footed winger cut inside and fire a shot that the Wortley goalkeeper was unable to hold on to. Unfortunately for the visitors, Eva Jenkins swooped in to fire the loose ball into the back of the Wortley net to make it 2-0.

A run down the left side by the ever-lively Polly Asquith-Brown, saw her advance into the box and knock the ball past the Wortley defender…who tripped her. The referee had no hesitation in blowing the whistle and pointing to the spot.

Responsibility for taking the penalty was given to Olivia Delaney, who placed the ball carefully, took a short run-up, and struck it confidently with her left foot. Unfortunately, she put it just high and wide of the angle, and it remained 2-0.

Five minutes later Boro’ won a corner on their left, which Beth Padget went over to take.

Beth has been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks and has a thunderous right-foot shot. You could almost see the twinkle in her eye as she placed the ball for the corner.

Some people may argue that this wasn’t going to be a direct attempt but having seen Beth try and do this in training, I have absolutely no doubt of her intentions.

A wonderfully clean strike was hit with pace, and arced over the goalkeeper’s outstretched arm, and into the far side of the goal, 3-0.

Take a bow Beth, what a goal!

The fourth goal came in the 80th minute, started by Town’s defence. Jess Flynn picked up the ball just outside the penalty box and fed it forward to Grace Adams, who looked up and slotted a wonderful pass through the Wortley defence for Eva Jenkins to run onto on the right wing.

Wortley appealed for offside, and had the ball gone to Lorna Wilkinson, then the appeal would have been justified, however, it was Eva Jenkins who had timed her run perfectly to beat the offside, pick-up possession and run-in on goal, Lorna being judged to be inactive.

Eva controlled the ball, angled her run towards the advancing Wortley goalkeeper and fired it home; Knaresborough Town led 4-0.

There was still time for Wortley to create their best chance of the game straight from the restart, as a lofted ball was half cleared by the home team’s central defence, falling to the visitor’s striker who cut between two Town defenders, and fired the ball in on target.

Ella Ritchie, Boro’s stopper, went down to her right, making contact to take the sting out of the shot, but somehow the ball squirmed under her, deflecting away from the centre of the goal. The ball rolled towards the outside of the post and stopped…still in play. Ella got up to collect and any further danger was averted.

The remaining ten minutes of the game saw Knaresborough create a succession of opportunities to score, but unable to add to their tally.

The full-time whistle went, and town had deservedly won the game 4-0. 

So that was four goals, a clean sheet, and three points won helping Town keep up with the front runners in the league. Although not anywhere near Knaresborough Town’s top score of this or previous campaigns, this was probably one of their best performances this season, that helped us beat an extremely proficient and resolute opponent and put the demons of last week to bed.

We don’t need others to appraise our performances, we are our own worst critics. We will not shy away from being honest, and saying when things are not good enough, but at the same time we will also give praise where it is due.

Sunday was a different kind of performance, one that showed how good the players can be, that showed how hard-working the players can be, showed how the players can play for each other and win games, intelligently, and just how skilful they are.

This was a wonderful performance by the whole squad of players, and one that the management team can be immensely proud of.

Next Sunday sees Knaresborough Town return to Manse Lane to take on Burley Trojans in the League Cup. We will look at that game in more detail in our match preview, that will be published on Friday.

One final word about Wortley. Having played them twice in just eight days, we are amazed that they currently sit in ninth position on just three points. We are certain that, over the course of the remaining season, they will earn a significant number of points and be up towards the top of the table.

Very well played Wortley and we wish you all the best for the remainder of the 2023/24 season.

 

Goals: Lorna Wilkinson 1; Eva Jenkins 2; Beth Padget 1.

Player of the Match: Jess Flynn; Goal of the Game: Beth Padget.

Referee: Anthony Johnson