ESA Women lose to Lochaber in the Last 16 of the WCA Challenge Cup

Match report ESA vs Lochaber ESA women arrived early to the pitch today, playing the quarter final game against Lochaber. Set against the backdrop of Spean Bridge the team was looking strong despite only having two subs. As the ball was thrown, ESA were the first to show their intentions with Bernie swinging it out of the air to the forwards. However, Lochaber were strong in showing that ESA were not going to dominate as they brought play back to the centre. Great running from the centres, communication in the forwards and continual battling by Vicky allowed Joy to repeatedly return the ball up the pitch meaning ESA found their chance, with Melissa slipping the ball past the goalie to score the first goal of the game. ESA were in high spirits as the game restarted supported by the continual switching for more refreshed players and goalies. However they failed to secure anymore goals for the half, Lochaber upped their determination and Melissa was subbed due to injury. The first half finished with a score of 1-0 to ESA with several shots on target by both teams. After a water break and team talk the second half saw a strong centre line reducing the time the ball spent in the ESA half however Lochaber were fierce in their competition and a quick swing saw them equalising as they continued to swap in more quick legged players. Determined to take back the lead, Joy dropped back into goal with Becca now taking up the defensive position while Bernie and Katy continued sending balls from the centre towards the goal. Melissa’s return to the pitch saw her chip one of these passes over the goalies head and into the top corner yet again edging ESA forward. Lochaber didn’t loose faith but came back fighting and started to gain more possession of the ball equalising with around 10 minutes to go increasing the pressure on all players. The speed of the game rapidly increased as both teams attempted to take the lead however the final whistle blew with a score of 2-2. The increased pace meant weariness began to set as both teams took to the pitch for 20 more minutes of extra time however despite some excellent play from everyone on the pitch the ball didn’t manage to find a home in either net with both teams seeming to be equally matched and several ESA players soldiering through cramp. Penalties were up next with Katy chosen to go in goal after her reactive performance throughout the game. Lochaber had a big moral boost as they sent one flying into the net and the first few ESA shots slipped wide however goals by Bernie and Melissa (achieving a hattrick) along with a few ESA saves saw yet another equaliser with 2 penalties scored by each team. Sudden death ensued. Joy showed that she did want to organise another trip to Scotland with a perfectly executed penalty however Lochaber were well practiced in scoring which meant that after a long and brilliant game the Lochaber team were the ones going through to compete in the semi-finals (hopefully they’ll have yet another great game and we would also like to thank them for their wonderful hospitality on the day) Results: game (2-2) Melissa x2, penalties (2-2) Bernadette Melissa, Sudden death (2-1) Joy Player of the match: Katy Ross Most improved: Heather Tewnion Team Joy Elliott-Bowman (capt) (goals) Katy Ross (goals) Vicky Lipscombe (goals) Susan McCulloch (goals) Bernie Elliott Bowman Melissa Charlton Heather Tewnion Joanne Cornish Anya Goodwin Becca Wilson

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