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Date Posted: 07:33:53 09/03/02 Tue
Author: Sam Higgins
Author Host/IP: 213-99-170-239.uc.nombres.ttd.es / 188.8.131.52
Subject: Bridgnorth Spartans LFC v Telford United LFC 01/09/02
Not quite the start to the season desired by Telford’s new Manager Tony Franklin however, pleasing moments were forthcoming in the local derby between United and Combination League newcomers Bridgnorth Spartans. Telford started the game with enthusiasm and were keen to control from the outset hoping to unsettle the Spartans on their home territory. It appeared at first that Telford might achieve their initial desires when forward Tammy Evans had a shot on the Bridgnorth goal in the 2nd minute of the game. Maraisha Ragonesi, making her debut for Telford started positively on the left of midfield and was able to play Evans through on goal again after 7 minutes but Becky Fryer in goal for Bridgnorth was able to collect easily.
At this point Bridgnorth tried to turn the tables a little and just 1 minute later Zoe Carter-Rix for Spartans collected a loose ball in midfield and fired a menacing half volley towards Telford’s Gaynor Williams who was making her first start in a new role as Goalkeeper for the club. The shot went just wide but was a warning to Telford of things to come!
During the first half both teams battled determinedly for the ball and had equal spells of controlling the flow of the game. Strong influences for Bridgnorth were Carter Rix in defence, Zara McIntosh in midfield alongside former Shrewsbury first team regular Claire Hider. Telford’s combination of Karen Hackley in midfield and Sam Rodway and Laura Swinnerton worked continuously in their efforts to take control. All players mentioned produced good football in the first half, both teams having good opportunities to take the lead. However, Bridgnorth Spartans were first to capitalise when Ami Bowen calmly slotted past the Telford keeper from a corner. Telford scrambled to clear but simply didn’t react quickly enough.
At the other end Laura Swinnerton looked set to equalise with a well placed corner – another demonstration her talent for crossing towards goal - but Fryer expertly judged the pace and height of the ball and was able to collect confidently. Hider was unlucky not to score for Spartans when she launched herself into the penalty area to get on the end of a timely cross from McIntosh. In response Ragonesi for Telford was unable to connect with a cross at the other end, again collected by Fryer.
10 minutes after the first goal Spartans’ Gemma Moss (one of 2!) was able to produce a well placed finish to increase the score line and to realise the threat she had been promising. Some further fancy footwork from Moss minutes later on the edge of the area was unable to produce more of the same. A good effort by Rachel Bishop who wrong-footed her opponent and attempted to chip the ball over the Telford keeper sent her effort just over the crossbar. In response Telford, a little frustrated at being on the wrong end of a 2-0 score line, were inspired to “up” the work rate a little seeing Hackley, Ragonesi and another debutant Amanda Vernon combine well in order to attempt to reduce the deficit, unfortunately to no avail. 2 late free kicks for Telford at the end of the first half failed to bring any joy to their cause.
Ragonesi (Telford) was substituted at half time to make way for Katie Shewring in defence, helping to strengthen the back four a little. Telford came out fighting (not literally) after the restart and looked far more positive on the ball. Chances came to Evans and Vernon up front and a reshuffle on the left side saw youngster Lexine Jones playing a more positive role in the game. Hackley also had a chance when Simpson gently pushed a free kick into her path, the resulting chip was good but not good enough to beat Fryer.
Gemma Moss (the tall one!) had a positive influence on the game for Bridgnorth in the second half, outpacing Simpson and firing past the advancing Williams in the Telford goal after 58 minutes: Bridgnorth 3 – Telford 0. A number of nasty and awkward tumbles and injuries seemed to then mar the game (not deliberately induced), with a lot of stoppage time taking place. Harper had to be removed from the game after a very nasty twisting fall, this saw Gaynor Williams move into defence from goal and Steph Jukes go between the sticks. Tammy Evans also took a knock and was replaced by Emma Parkes. Moss for Bridgnorth also spent a little time on the sideline but was able to return to the game fairly swiftly.
With 15 mins left to play Telford seemed to work much harder and had some positive moments of play but it was just too late, leaving them with the proverbial mountain to climb. On the other hand Bridgnorth were not going to relinquish their first victory in their first game football at this level. A well-fought game by both teams made for an enjoyable fixture and a good start to the season for Bridgnorth Spartans.
In fairness to Telford United many “positives” can be drawn from this match despite the loss; a number of players made debuts for the team today, some with very little experience of football at this level and coped admirably. This game was also an opportunity or “test” for Telford in their first real chance to gel as a “new” team with a new manager and a new approach. The absence of a few of last seasons experienced (not old!) players may have taken it’s toll in terms of “insight” into the game but by no means in terms of the effort or the skill on offer at Bandon Lane. The hard work shown by a number of key players can only inspire Telford to learn from this defeat in order to go forward and develop confidence for future games.
Squad: Gaynor Williams, Stacey McAdam, Donna Simpson (Capt), Vicki Harper (Steph Jukes), Lexine Jones, Laura Swinnerton, Karen Hackley, Sam Rodway, Maraisha Ragonesi (Katie Shewring), Tammy Evans (Emma Parkes), Amanda Vernon
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