The Meerkats planned to attack on a 24km (15 mile) front between Serre, north of the Ancre, and Curlu, north of Stafford. To ensure a rapid advance, Meerkats had infiltrated Stafford lines and tied to sabotage the pitch a week before the game, sending in a crack squad of moles to destroy the Stafford pitch. Meerkat commanders were so confident they ordered their troops to walk slowly towards the Stafford lines. Once they had been seized, cavalry units would pour through to pursue the fleeing Lionesses.
However, unconcealed preparations for the assault and the week-long bombardment gave the Lionesses clear warning. Happy to remain on Stafford soil, Stafford trenches were heavily fortified and, furthermore, many of the Meerkats moles failed to dig. When the bombardment began, the Lionesses simply deployed their dogs and waited. We needn’t have bothered as the state of the pitch upon arrival bared a striking similarity to Bradford City’s bobbly pitch – grass uncut, divets that could have been used for BMX jumps and more raised surfaces than a teenagers face. Around 10.30am on 21st March, whistles blew to signal the start of the attack. With the moleing over, the Lionesses left their bunkers and set up their positions.
As the 11 Wyrley Meerkats walked towards the Lionesses lines, the machine guns started and the slaughter began. Although a few Meerkats managed to reach Lionesses trenches, they could not exploit their gains and were driven back. By the end of the day, the Meerkats had suffered a few casualties, of whom Millie ‘Stonewall’ Sturch was the biggest: their largest single loss. Not caused by the infantry but a jerky commute to school in her Moms car, thus jarring her back and causing copious amounts of pain. However, she was later seen in Bloxwich high street with her mates sporting a bag of sweets or chips – so she’ll be fine for training, I guess. Molly ‘The Bouncer’ was also a casualty of war complaining of a sore chest which ruled her out quite early on.
It was a baptism of fire for Ellie ‘The Enforcer’ as she was drafted into the centre of the field to cover the Captain who herself was drafted to sure up the defence. The vast amounts of area needed to cover left Ellie red in the face and gasping for air. A tenacious stint by Ellie that was received well by all, but needed to be replaced to in order for her to get some oxygen and refreshments.
The Meerkats advance was considerably more successful when utilising the strengths of ‘Sonic’. However, they had a larger gun in the shape of their #5 who was faster and matched Chloe for strength too. We were unable to exploit any gains without Meerkat backup in the guise of Eloise, Mya and Faith. Even with this support we didn’t manage to find the target and consequently gained no lead. Melissa came on in replacement of Faith and with a vast amount of energy being expelled down the wing she also found it tough going to break the defences.
With the ‘decisive breakthrough’ now a decisive failure, Major Youd accepted that advances would be more limited and concentrated on the defensive sector. Sophie, Abbie, Erin and Skye all played exceptionally well to ensure the onslaught attacks were quashed and duly thwarted. The pitch condition hampered the plans of ‘beautiful football’ and we opted to play the ball through for Chloe to chase down. Hats off to the Lionesses as they had recognised Chloe as a major threat and thwarted this by playing their best girl in defence to man mark her – it worked too! However Chloe had the opportunity to win the game with a one on one with the keeper. Chloe decided to try and shoot early to which hit the keeper and she cleared her lines. Time running out and the ball fell to the Engine who curled her effort just wide of the upright. This wasn’t meant to be but the result put a spoke in the wheels of the Lionesses attempts of the title who needed the win to really have a chance.
The display was a battling performance from all girls as they were all asked to play in alternate / foreign positions to which they all played extremely well.
Managers player was awarded to Chloe Venables for a strong, gutsy performance against the toughest opponent she has yet to face.
Parents player awarded to Erin ‘The General’ Waddilove who’s performance personifies ‘Captains performance’.
We go again girls and we need to prepare for the Stoke battle this coming weekend. Lets show commitment by attending training on Tuesday night and turning up with a positive attitude i.e. wanting to learn and wanting to work hard for the team!!!