OLDLAND SCARE CUP FAVOURITES IN NINE GOAL THRILLER
By Steve Lavis
Even the St.Nicholas management recognized that the 6-3 scoreline in their favour flattered them as Oldland produced, not only a battling display, but some superb and eye-catching football, especially in the first half.
Jayde Holcombe returned in goal for Oldland after injury and there was a match day debut for recent signing Meg James. Sam Morgan was unavailable for the game and Annie Hawkins-Hoare,Laura Garlick,Jess Phillips were all injured. The match was moved from Castle Road due to the state of the pitch to their opponents ground at Chipping Sodbury for the GFA Womens Challenge Trophy match but this didn't deter Oldland one bit. The Abbott's hit the ground running and clearly rattled the opposition from the off as they could have been two up after just five minutes.
Striker Fran Dalton had a shot cleared off of the line after two minutes from a Jade Scammell corner then it was Dalton denied again after 5 minutes when her looping shot bounced back off of the bar with the keeper beaten. The home team were finding out hard to get a foothold in the game and it was Oldland that were looking the more dangerous team but the way Oldland's luck is at the moment meant that St.Nicks took the lead on 25 minutes against the run of play.
This buoyed the home side and they started looking more composed but Oldland were determined not to throw away their good start to the game and it was captain Vicky Mundy who grabbed the Abbots deserved equaliser on 35 minutes when she headed in from another Scammell corner.
As half time approached the home team were turning the screw on Oldland with a sustained spell of pressure and a minute from half time St.Nicks took the lead which, on balance, wasn't really deserved. To epitomize their battling performance over the first 45 minutes, Oldland still had time for an equalizer as on the stroke of half time Dalton seized on indecision by a St.Nicks defender to fire home to make it 2-2.
The second half started as a much closer affair but gradually the home side started to find more time and space in midfield as Oldland were finding it harder to press and close down as well as they did in the first half. With the hosts being given too much time and space to pass the ball it was a devastating 6 minute spell in which St.Nicks scored on 59,61 and 65 minutes to effectively take the game away from Oldland.
A big feature in Oldland's upturn in performances over the last month has been the superb team spirit and this was again on display massively on Sunday as after this quick spell the team rallied and started putting pressure on the home side again. Lydiya Myckalechko lobbed the keeper from a Scammell through ball with 12 minutes to go and it looked like the Abbott's would go and score again. With the home team looking nervy in defence Oldland couldn't quite put the finishing touch on a number of attacks with sub Romany Cochrane,Scammell,Sophie Gidley and Beth Dale all going close.
It was cruel on Oldland that St.Nicks caught them on the break in the last minute to make the final score 6-3. The performance from the O's gained much praise from those watching the game with, apart from a 15 minute spell in the second half,a performance that had heart,spirit and plenty of good football.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH--Becca Slevin---A dominant performance from the 21 year old centre back in only her second Oldland game,who never lost a header or tackle all game and was so comfortable on the ball.