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Friday night, news came through on the batphone that the ‘General’ Erin Waddilove had been taken ill by a mysterious sickness bug!  My heart sank, panic kicked in and thoughts turned to conspiracy theories; had Stoke infiltrated our home defences and spread the winter bug into one of our key players homes? Answers on a postcard! Anyway, with this in mind Dave ‘Bloke’ Youd had already pondered and planned his response to this devastating news. It was time to unleash Chloe ‘Terry’ Venables on Stoke as main striker and bring Eloise’ The Engine’ Yates back into the heart of midfield.  With the secret plans in place we embarked on the journey Northwards with 11 Meerkats chomping at the bit. The sky was blue the wind was light apart from Guy and Scott (seriously boys have a word).  The gaffer gave out the starting line up with Skye in goal, Abbie and Ellie at the back. Faith, Melissa, Eloise and Chloe making up the midfield and forward lines.

Not as soon as the referee blew the whistle Faith had locked shoe laces with her opponent and both tumbled to the floor.  ‘Drop Ball’ I hear you all cry! nope, a free kick to Stoke – go figure! Stoke pressed the Meerkats hard and outstanding defensive work thwarted their attacks. Great work by Abbie and especially Ellie, which has earned her the nickname ‘The Enforcer’. She may be the youngest and one of the smallest but she takes no prisoners! Melissa was playing her first game after an operation and she really got stuck in, tracking players back as part of her defensive duties and playing some nice interplay with Chloe and Eloise going forward.  Another sortie into the meerkat half had their main threat shoot from distance that Skye went to stop with her feet, consequently the ball went under her foot for the first Stoke goal.  The game ebbed and flowed both sets of girls having attacks but it was Stoke who were having the lions share.The gaffer switched Faith for Lauren who also put a decent effort into the game, using her small statue and fast pace to antagonise the Stoke full back.

Half time came and the gaffer switched Abbie and Ellie with Sophie and Millie.  The instruction was given for Chloe to chase everything and to pressurise the stoke defence at every given opportunity.  Immediately from kick off the Meerkats had the bit between their teeth, pushing the Stokey’s back into their half.  A precision pass through the defence by Melissa was like giving a strawberry to a donkey, Chloe who is as quick as the proverbial off a stick, raced through a poked the ball into the back of the net – game on! The Meerkats were contesting every ball and winning the majority. Goal number 2 for the meerkats in a rather ironic way. Skye’s kick was flicked on by Eloise that landed to Chloe who hit a speculative strike that for some reason the Stoke keeper (one of the best in the league) decided to try and kick it. The ball squirted underneath her boot and there was Chloe’s brace! Route 1 Stoke Styley (Pulis era only). The Meerkats continued to press and a curling shot from Eloise was initialy saved but had squirted under the keepers body and was heading for the goal, the keeper managed to get back and cover the ball to stop it from going over the line.  The atmosphere was electric and the Meerkat cheerleaders were in good voice – I will ask though for Guy to stop wearing the High School musical cheerleading spandex leotard outfit thigymajig – not a good look! Lauren was replaced with Katie ensuring that all subs were used and that they all got some playing time.

The Stoke Manager gave a rallying cry to urge his girls to push on! They took heed and equalised after the Meerkats failed to clear their lines.  Stoke smelt blood, the ship was rocking and continued their onslaught. They rattled the bar with an effort late on and were kept out by some brave goalkeeping. Skye’s bravery surely stopped the Stokey’s from scoring again.

A massive result considering this was the first game back after the festive holidays.  All of the girls looked like too many selection boxes had been consumed – so more running and cardio activities planned.  The girls put a massive effort in and special mentions have to go to Skye, Millie, Abbie, Ellie, Sophie and Melissa.  Whereas Chloe may have scored the goals, the girls mentioned above all had an impact on the game and ensured that we came away with a draw.

Things to work on:

Skye – using your hands as first port of call. Practising your goal kicks to get some height and distance.

Defence – Clear your lines – If in doubt put it out! Call your name when you want the ball.

Midfield / forward – Possional awareness – where do i need to be when we attack? Where do i need to be when we are defending?

For her bravery Skye Lee won Girl of the Match and the parents also awarded her parents player (teddy thigymajig) – well done

 

A mention to Guy Lloyd who was asked to run the line by the referee! He was waving the flag so much a microlight nearly mistook the pitch for a runway!

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