Attack and defence both shine in back to back victories
On a day of breaking new ground on the pitch, the U’s overcame Saltdean Utd Development, not once, but twice in their first ever double header fixtures in the SCWGFL. For those who don’t know, these were two matches consisting of 30 minute halves. These represented the home and away matches, including the kit change to show this between the end of match 1 and the start of match 2.
From the get go, the U’s were in control. The pitch, due to academy activity, was sanded more than usual and this was particularly noticeable in the early exchanges as both sides looked to settle. In stark contrast to Pagham last week, Saltdean were much more eager and focused on getting on the counter and keeping the ball on the ground, and didn’t look too bad when they strung a few passes together, but it was a rarity due to the U’s constant press.
After a number of chances, the U’s made the breakthrough towards the end of the first half. An in swinging Izzy Payne corner (more on those later) was met by the head of the clinical Georgia Tibble, who thumped home to add another to her ever growing collection in a U’s shirt. That was enough to seal a half time lead in the home part of the day.
HT : Hastings Utd 1–0 Saltdean Utd Development
The second half was much more comfortable for the U’s as they had cracked Saltdean’s plan A, and they didn’t seem to have a plan B. Any balls in behind were easily dealt with by Muggeridge and Reed, and Hamilton would do the rest.
The second goal came, once again, from Georgia ‘The Terror’ Tibble. The Saltdean goalkeeper had looked a bit nervous in the first half and Tibble looked to exploit this. Her effort was spilt by the goalkeeper in a manner not too dissimilar to Rob Green’s mistake at the 2010 World Cup and it ended up in the back of the net. It was 2-0 and made coming back for Saltdean an even higher mountain to climb.
Taliswoman Molly Hill added a third late on after a wonderful bit of U’s play, with the ball crossed in and finished first time into the far corner. As I said in my report last week – Irregardless of who you are, you won’t keep Hill the Hotshot out. An excellent goal to cap an excellent first game of the day for the U’s.
FT : Hastings Utd 3–0 Saltdean Utd Development
Line Up : Hamilton, Sharp, Muggeridge, Reed, Corrigan (Buckley), Carter (★), Relf ©, Payne (Carmichael), Tibble, Williams (Hannath), Hill
Match two started roaringly for the U’s and it’s no exaggeration to say they could have been a few goals up after a few minutes – there was nothing to indicate they’d played 60 minutes already from the way that they started.
However, it started to show as for the time on the day, Saltdean started to settle. Whilst they weren’t hugely threatening, they were stringing passes together in Hastings territory for the first time. That doesn’t mean the U’s weren’t playing well mind you, with their best effort coming from Molly Hill, whose effort was well saved by the Saltdean goalkeeper. The sides went in goalless at the break.
HT : Saltdean Utd Development 0-0 Hastings Utd
The second half saw two moments of magic which secured the win for Hastings. The first one came from Molly Hill, who actually broke down the flowing Hastings move after having her pass blocked, but the bouncing ball returned to her and she launched into the top corner. A decisive finish to break the deadlock.
Remember earlier when I said we’d come back to Izzy Payne corners? She is without doubt the queen of the in swinger. Her previous corner had hit the roof of the net, this one however curled in over everyone into the back of the net. (I recommend listening to the commentary). That sealed a second win out of two games and confirmed the U’s would reach the summit of the league.
Line Up : Hamilton, Sharp (Baker), Muggeridge (★), Reed, Corrigan (Buckley), Carter, Relf ©, Payne (Topliss), Tibble, Williams (Hannath), Hill (Carmichael)
The Ry-View : With games in hand, the U’s reach the summit. It’s theirs to lose and I don’t think anyone could rationally see them losing it. With the defence keeping clean sheets for fun with their incredibly fluent and coherent defensive line, the front line bagging like there’s no tomorrow and the midfield as strong as ever…Don’t put the champagne on ice yet, but no-one would begrudge you for ordering the flutes.
Next Match : Chichester (A), Double Header, 2/04/2021