Southdown Girls under 12s kick off their season against table-toppers AFC Sporting

Football. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111558001

Football. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111558001

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Southdown Girls U12s kick started their season with a match against table toppers, AFC Sporting who had a 100% record.

Southdown started strongly right from kick off with Mia Davies playing the ball up the left wing to Lucy Preston. She in turn fed Daisy Marshall in the centre and she sent Jazzy White on her way. AFC were able to nullify the attack but it set the tone for the rest of the game.

Seconds later Southdown very nearly took the lead when Ella Matthews burst through on the left only for her low cross to be smothered by AFC’s keeper just before the on rushing Anna Humphries could get a clinical touch.

Southdown were dominating the early exchanges but as is the way, on eight minutes and against the run of play, AFC broke through and their low drive found the bottom corner. Southdown gathered themselves and again were ahead in the possession stakes but not on the scoreboard.

White was busy burning loads of energy on the right, supporting the attack and tracking back to help the defence. When AFC did attack, their most dangerous player was kept in check by Yas Davies. At the heart of defence was Captain Jas Higham who also involved in breaking down the odd AFC attack and, apart from the goal, the visitors weren’t threatening to extend their lead. Half way through the half, Gemma Hebditch was introduced on the left wing at the expense of Preston. Within minutes she suffered an injury which very nearly meant she came off but she bravely stayed on and how crucial that was. Six minutes later, Humphries broke down the right wing and her low cross evade all those in front of goal but fell to Hebditch just wide on the left. From an acute angle she slotted the ball in at the near post to level the scores. It was no less than Southdown deserved yet a team are never more vulnerable than when they have just scored and so it proved. With just over a minute after the equalizer, AFC broke through into the box and another low drive beat Sasha Higgs-Molecey in goal had very little to do but on the stroke of half time she pulled of a brilliant save down to her left, pushing an accurate shot onto the post to keep Southdown within one goal. The second half saw the reintroduction of Preston but in more central striking role. In defence Tegan Williams slotted in at left back. Southdown had the hill to their advantage and efforts from Marshall and Preston challenged the keeper but she was equal to them.

Another good move saw Marshall lay the ball out left to Hebditch whose flick sent Preston away. She in turned squared to Humphries whose shot was plucked out of the air by the keeper. The game was now ebbing and flowing and Williams was solid in defence, never giving up and never letter her opponent past.

The clock was ticking down and it seemed that despite their efforts, Southdown would come away empty handed. However, pressing forward for one last time, the ball broke to Humphries on the edge of the box. She took one touch to steady herself then shot passed the AFC keeper into the top corner.

It was indeed a late strike as the referee blew for time before the game restarted. It was a fantastic game to watch for both sets of fans. Southdown have developed a very skilful passing game combining some great individual skill with good movement off the ball. That, combined with a very strong defence bodes well for the rest of the season.

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