Following their first defeat in five matches last week Guildford Ladies were determined to bounce back against league leaders and thus far unbeaten this season, Surbiton...
Guildford had the full 16 players allowed for the fixture recognising that Surbiton would be fielding a strong youthful side. Surbiton did likewise and all was set for a fast and frenetic game! The game was delayed for nearly 40 minutes as one of the umpires was caught in the horrendous traffic. This proved a challenge to the coaches to keep the players warm and mentally ready for the game.
Once play started it was played at a fast pace. Surbiton took the early initiative moving the ball across the pitch well and generating some good attacks. Guildford took ourchances and we were able to build and attack. However, Surbiton countered and with a nice pass to one of the forward players scored in the 4th minute to take the lead.
Our response was strong and as the game settled down with end to end attacks taking place. From a Guildford 16 the ball came out to the right for Alice O’H to pick up and she saw an opening just after the halfway line to send the ball to Surbiton’s D and into the path of Kerry scored to equalize in the 7th minute. Both teams continued to play at high intensity, Guildford’s substitutions working to good effect especially with the mid field who were tirelessly working from D-to-D. As the game approached the 20th minute, Surbiton won a penalty corner. The initial corner was saved, but the ensuing scramble saw the ball deflected off a Surbiton stick, loop high over Holly and drop down over the goal line giving Surbiton a 2-1 lead. This was the score going into half time.
From the start of the second half Guildford took the more aggressive approach and looked more hungry for the game. Alice L, Rosie and Heather in the screen role were very effective servicing the midfield with pass after pass. This was supported by some excellent defensive work from the back three: Suzi, Libby and Jo, the latter very effectively, turning defence into attack, with passes, in particular to Alice O’H, some of which were travelling at a fast pace which she skillfully controlled and moved on into attacking opportunities. One such attack 10 minutes into the second half saw a shot from Guildford saved, but Harriet successfully capitalised on the rebound to draw he scores level.
The game continued at a pace and Guildford were looking comfortable and were probably making more effective usage of our substitutions and we continued to attack. Surbiton countered, but most of the time the screens eliminated the drives forward and for those that passed them again the defence was strong. There was a heart stopping moment when the defence was broken and a lose ball was heading to the top of the Guildford D and there was a race between defender and forward to reach the ball. Holly came from goal but realised that the ball was slowing so much she would be outside the D and could not kick it to safety, so waited and unfortunately kicked the ball straight to a Surbiton player. Fortunately Guildford defence had regrouped and recovered the situation. Guildford’s resolve grew even stronger and shortly after the 22 minute Harriet scored a 2nd goal and Guildford’s 3rd, to give Guildford the lead for the first time in the game. We did not sit back but kept seeking opportunities and causing Surbiton to defend, not allowing them to have many attacking opportunities in the last 10 minutes. The final score was 3-2 to Guildford which has moved us to 3rd in the league table and moved Surbiton to second leaving us to play for the top of the table team for the second week in a row: East Grinstead on Saturday.