St John's School, Leatherhead Girls 1st XI vs Ardingly College
On: Tuesday, 18 Oct 2016
After the euphoria of winning the county cup, the midweek trip to Ardingly was always going to prove difficult and especially so with the loss of Sophie Tait, Macy McCutcheon and Lucie Bishop to injury. Ardingly are a well-drilled side with plenty of pace and skill and, on their home turf, they are a formidable opponent.
Playing in a half-court press, the hosts were happy to feed off St John's mistakes and, unfortunately, there were too many of these. To their credit, once Ardingly won the ball, they countered at speed and made some excellent decisions in front of goal. Nicole Vanstone managed to clear one chance off the line but Ardingly scored soon after before doubling their lead before half time.
When John's managed to string passes together, they created chances of their own and it looked like an improved performance would see them get back into the game. Emily Roe was causing issues on the left and, with a little more ruthlessness in the final third, goals were sure to come.
But, after the break, it was Ardingly who scored first to give themselves a cushion of three goals. John's were still struggling for fluency and the diminished squad left few options to change things. Players were playing in unfamiliar positions and being asked to complete long shifts. It was hard to find the dynamism that has marked the season so far and all John's could do was battle through their frustration. They did this well in the last ten minutes and managed to grab a goal through Sanne Senior but Ardingly ran our deserved winners.
It was a fair reminder that success is not guaranteed and does not come without hard work. There is, of course, disappointment in losing the 100% record and in not performing to expectations but this is a chance to reset and re-establish goals before a big second half of term. The girls have worked tirelessly and deserve a break, ready to come back firing in the regional heats in a couple of weeks.