Semi final day is always the worst time to go out of any competition and we knew we would have to be at our best to beat a team ranked in a higher division than ourselves. As expected the game started at a pace with both teams vieing to get the upper hand and dictate play early on in the game. The opposition goalkeeper was tested a few times from the beginning with Seren, Meg and Sienna coming close. With AFC Whitchurch mounting a few attacking plays of their own, our defence of Ffion, Nevaeh, Lexi and the impressive Yomn who made some cracking saves during the game more than coped with what they threw at us early on. Cardiff started to really string passes together, winning everything and stretching play to our wingers Charlie and Renee who put some lovely balls into the danger areas of the penalty box. One of these plays allowed Savanna to retrieve the ball in the opposition half, run through midfield and with the keeper advancing towards her neatly dribbled around her and shot the ball between two defenders to score the first goal to make it 1-0.
Starting the second half in the lead gives you a little breathing space, but that didn’t mean we could sit back and take it easy. We told our selves it was still 0-0 and we went for it from the off as we did in the first half. With an opposition GK change, we changed how we were going to attack the goal and tested the keeper quickly. Great football was played by both teams with action flowing from one end to the other and at this point the game really could of gone either way. With Cardiff mounting yet another free flowing attack, piling on the pressure we won a corner. A fantastic placed corner taken by Grace T, who put a pin point cross in right into the danger area. The keeper came out to claim the ball, getting one hand to the high cross and punching it, it span up and over into the top of the net to make it 2-0. The place erupted and the atmosphere was fantastic.
Knowing we were playing a higher placed team than ourselves, we knew they were not going to just lie down and accept this score and to their credit started to pile on the pressure and chase our lead. On the whole we managed to deal with the pressure and what was thrown at us, accept in a 10 minute window where everything we touched and a few decisions went against us that we did not deal with in our normal way. This allowed AFC Whitchurch to score 2 goals to make the score 2-2. The game really could of gone any way at this point, with the opposition with the upper momentum and Cardiff, thinking whats just happened. But, this team has developed over the season a strong will not to give up and team togetherness to come back stronger at times when it could just of been easier to accept a draw or just play the game out to the dreaded penalty stage. Cardiff started again and we started to win the midfield battles and get lots of width with Evan and Grace out wide seeing a lot of possesion down the wings. Battles were being won all over the field with Grace E and Amelia making runs of there own and putting more pressure on Whitchurch at a time when we had gained the upper hand back at a crucial time in the game. Our next and final goal of the game came with a goal kick taken by Ffion. Who put a great ball into midfield which was cleared back from a whitchurch midfielder towards our goal. It was then intercepted by Sienna who played an inch perfect pass to to our right winger Grace T. Grace put a first time touch ball high up into the penalty area, the ball went over the keepers head on the goal line and went straight into the back of the net to make the score 3-2 and the final score. The last 10 minutes were a bit of a blur, but when the final whistle went, the place went wild….. what a feeling to have….
Credit to both teams today, who gave their all in the game to make it a very competitive and great game for everyone who came to support them. Thank you all for taking the time to come and share this experience and journey with the team.
And so now on to the Cup Final we go, not bad for a team playing in their first year of competitive football…… looking forward to playing a team we haven’t played before, Cascade in what I am sure will be a fantastic experience and game for all the girls.
Scorers : Grace ⚽️⚽️, Savanna ⚽️
POTM : Yomn, Nevaeh, Evan