In keeping with European footballers, the Linacre team had a winter break. This was the first match of the second half of the season. Conditions at kick-off were less than ideal; rain, wind and an extremely muddy pitch.
St Philip’s made a lively start, applying constant pressure from the whistle. Leah Newman started in goal, and was more than up for the early pressure, absorbing shot after shot, and making save after save. Cameron Garner stood strong in midfield, with some early challenges. KS soon got the measure of the St Philip’s defence, dancing through them as she went on the attack, trying to put Steven Snow through on goal. Not one to be left out of the action, Shea Maloney tested the defence with a good run and strong shot. Evie Duff, on her debut for the school team, was partnered at the back with Campbell James. St Philip’s earned a corner, which was no problem for Leah Newman. St Philip’s went on the attack again, but reckoned without Campbell James, who put in a monumental block to stop the attack. Evie Duff got in on the action, gaining confidence, tackling and fighting for the ball. Campbell James was called on again to block a shot and clear the ball. St Philip’s launched another attack with the final shot going wide. Cameron Garner made a good tackle and started an attack. St Philip’s regained the ball and moved up field where Evie Duff did just enough to thwart the attack.
Leah Newman was proving a tough obstacle to get the ball past. She made a super save from a free kick. KS was making her presence felt, nipping in and out of the St Philip’s defence. An attack was mounted by the opposition and this led to breaking the deadlock, 1-0. From the kick-off they went on the attack again and scored another, 2-0. Linacre were not about to give up. KS took charge and started a move, causing all kinds of problems, linking up well with Shea Maloney and Steven Snow. St Philip’s went down the other end again, asking questions of Campbell James and Evie Duff who acquitted herself well.
Cameron Garner and Evie Duff made way for Sean Alty and John Beckley. Leah Newman came out of goal, replaced by Steven Snow.
St Philip’s scored an early goal, 3-0. This spurred Linacre into action, with a lively attack from KS down the right. Play went up the other end, with John Beckley making an early contribution in defence. Corner for St Philip’s and Leah Newman was straight into the action, with a great ball to Shea Maloney. A long-range throw-in from Leah Newman caused the St Philip’s keeper problems. KS and John Beckley combined well in defence, but with the rain pouring down and a goal-mouth scramble, another goal went in, 4-0. Linacre again dug deep and found some super play from the kick-off. Leah Newman set up Shea Maloney, whose shot hit the side netting. Steven Snow was called on repeatedly to make saves and a good period of defending saved a certain goal. Leah Newman earned a corner. This was followed by a second corner, another goal-mouth scramble, with KS scoring her first goal for the school team, which was richly deserved, 4-1. A confident attack from Linacre, sent Shea Maloney on the rampage, a one-on-one with the St Philip’s keeper ensued and the keeper very bravely met Shea at full pace. It was enough to send the ball wide. Linacre were not finished, another attack was launched with Shea Maloney, KS and Leah Newman combining well. The final whistle came as the rain came down in stair rods. A gritty performance by the school team, all players playing their part.
Squad: Sean Alty, John Beckley, Evie Duff, Cameron Garner, Campbell James, Shea Maloney, Leah Newman, KS, Steven Snow.
Special thanks to Leah Newman’s mum for supporting and helping with lifts and Shea Maloney’s dad for coming to support us.