Old Silhillians 1st XI 2 - 2 Leamington Ladies 2nd XI
Leamington end 100% run by Sils remain unbeaten
Old Silhillians 1st XI 2 (2) - (1) 2 Leamington Ladies 2nd XI
Goalscorers: Caro Kappes (2)
This was always going to be a tough game - Sils without 3 key players, and Leamington arriving with a strong squad of 15 players.
The game got underway, and the visitors' tactics were clear - 1/2 court press at all times, and work really hard to turn the ball over. This was not something that Sils had come up against yet this year, and with Leamington boasting the meaning defence in the league, their approach appeared to be working. Leamington dominated the first exchanges, and were it not for some impressive coverage of the pitch by Sophie Boyle, Lucy Connors and Libby Shepherd in particular, Leamington would have taken the lead earlier than they did. It was not a surprise therefore that they took the lead - their press turning the ball over as Sils tried to force the ball through tight spaces, and then the players flooded forward, and whilst Nic in goal made the first save, Leamington re-cycled the ball and got a shot to the far post which was easily converted from close range.
This opening goal just worked to annoy Caro Kappes though - and within 10 minutes, the Sils were 2-1 up thanks to two bits of Kappes finishing. Firstly, she drove down the right, combining with Emma James and Sophie Boyle to get into the D, and her strong shot was deflected past the impressive Leamington GK by on of her defenders to force the equaliser within 2 minutes of the Sils falling behind.
A few minutes later, and with Priya Majevadia and Libby Shepherd pressing well in the left corner, Kappes leapt on a stray pass across the top of the D to take the ball onto her reverse and fire home into the bottom corner.
This wrestled the initiative back to Sils, and the game remained very even for the rest of the half, with Leamington looking dangerous from Penalty Corners, and Sils looking to play through the very tight visiting defence.
The second half was a little more in the favour of the home team, with Sils dominating possession, and playing much better patterns, but they were repeatedly denied by some excellent defending by Leamington both from open play, and from PCs. It was no surprise that the player of the match votes by the visiting team all went to their GK and their defensive players.
However, it was not all one-way, and Leamington did look dangerous when they broke - on one occasion winning a PC for a defensive foot, and from the corner, they scored, their striker finding the net from a narrow angle.
As it was, 2-2 was probably a fair result, and shows how well this team is coming together when they are disappointed by drawing. With Atherstone winning, the team has slipped to second in the league, but with 1/4 of the season gone, the team is still in a good place, with some key games coming up in future weeks against Hampton and Atherstone in particular - but the squad has a week's break now to reflect on what has happened in the first 5 weeks, and enjoy some well earned rest.
Player of the match was again a tale of many nominees, but in the end was shared by Hattie Evans for her resolute defensive play and excellent distribution, and Sophie Boyle for her non-stop running and drive.