Sutton Coldfield 3rd XI 1 - 6 Old Silhillians 1st XI
By Stephen Tabb
First away game and first away victory
Sutton Coldfield 3rd XI 1 (1) - (3) 6 Old Silhillians 1st XI
Goals: Clara Miles, Libby Shepherd (2), Sophie Boyle, Caro Kappes, Ursula Santos
Sils went into their first away game welcoming Ursula Santos to the squad for her first game on what turned out to be warm and sunny morning in Sutton.
As with previous weeks, a positive warm-up led to a strong start - play was being dictated by the skillful Sils midfield, whilst the defence was keeping the more direct approach of Sutton under control.
After a number of PCs and half-chances, which demonstrated the good shot-saving abilities of the home keeper, Sils broke the deadlock from a PC. Having learnt from the previous week when the home runner broke the line early and was sent to the 1/2 way line, Sils took advantage of the overload, keeping the ball alive long enough for Clara Miles to latch onto a loose ball and score from close range.
Shortly after, Caro Kappes was released down the right, and, pleasingly in line with what had been practised at training, Libby Shepherd got to the far post where Caro's cross-shot was turned in from close range.
Sutton then picked themselves up and built their most sustained period of pressure, being rewarded for their extended period of pressure by turning the ball home from close range after a strong run by their left forward. However, just as they sniffed a way back into the game, the ball went down the other end and Sophie Boyle somehow managed to force the ball past the keeper to restore the 2 goal lead.
The 1/2 time team talk was focussed on not letting the standards from the first half drop (as they had done in previous weeks), and the team went on to put in their strongest second half performance of the season so far, with three further goals being scored without reply. Kappes got on the scoresheet with the first goal of the second half, and then only minutes after, the effective Sils press allowed Ursula Santos to win the ball on the left, beat two players and smash the ball home to the far post. The final goal of the game came from Libby Shepherd getting her second, again from close range, reacting first to turn the ball home after Frankie Levey's initial shot had been once again saved by the home keeper.
The team rotated their roles through the last 10 minutes, and created further chances, but a couple of crosses from Emma James from the right could not quite be turned home, and so the game finished 6-1. Player of the Match went to Libby for her two goals.
Next week sees the two top teams meet, after Nuneaton won their second match to set up an early check on who may be front-runners by the end of the season.