Cup joy for Nelson Girls
By Martin Smith
Updated Monday, 1st May 2006
Congratulations to the Nelson Girls side, who picked up the North Valley Consolation Cup in Barnoldswick on Sunday.
This game was to be different, the Nelson girls had improved game by game. New players had injected a strong sense of determination back into the team and a good run of matches had increased fitness and highlighted the need for positional discipline.
The cup final got of to a shaky start with Haslingden making the first approach towards the Nelson goal. Nelson were soon able to respond and had a couple of attacks thwarted.
The first half continued in this vain with end to end play, very physical and lots of long ball passes used to try and overcome the tight marking. The pitch was quite hard and the ball bounced dangerously on the downward slope on several occasions. All the Nelson defenders had to make difficult clearances to avoid trouble.
Nelson striker Rebekkah Davies got closest to scoring when she approached the goal keeper and shot narrowly wide, though half time came as a welcome relief to the Nelson girls, they needed a breather.
The second half would give Nelson the advantage of the slight slope and soon this was evident when Charlotte Hartley chased a ball to the edge of the 18 yard line while being pursued by Haslingden defenders on each shoulder. Unfortunately the goalkeeper intervened and was able to clear.
Soon after Harriet Reader was in exactly the same position and again the Haslingden goalkeeper managed to clear, but Nelson were not having it all their own way. One Haslingden attack saw Nelson's goalkeeper Rebecca Harley sprint out to block a shot from about 8 yards.
At the mid point of the second half Haslingden conceded a free kick 25 yards out on the left hand side of their goal. They set up a wall to help defend a possible shot. Abbie Blackett stepped forward to take the kick and launched the ball straight into the roof of the Haslingden net, much to the delight of the Nelson players and fans.
After the restart the Nelson girls worked hard to keep control of the game. Haslingden had their chances though. A free kick outside the Nelson goal mouth ended with the ball crossing the goalmouth to go just wide.
Nelson recovered to put more pressure on Haslingden and on one attack Charlotte Hartley chased a pass and played the ball wide of the goals to beat the goalkeeper, she then took a shot from a very sharp angle, a Haslingden defended tried to pull the ball back from the goal line but was unsuccessful. Score 2-0 to Nelson.
With less than 10 minutes to play Haslingden pushed up field and came close to pulling a goal back with a shot from inside the Nelson goal mouth which hit the post. This was to be their last good chance.
The Nelson girls maintained their composure and did not look to be threatened, though it was a great relief though when the final whistle sounded.