Regular readers will know that while I’m waiting for women’s football on a Sunday I coach Havant & Waterlooville U15 Girls on a Saturday morning. With my team not having a game I took the opportunity to visit Rees Pake and Neil Connolly at Fareham Town as they hosted Tom Lynn’s Moneyfields side.
Going into the game the hosts had won two, drawn once and lost once in the league, a record that they can be proud as this was the club’s first season in the second division after gaining promotion last season.
The visitors had a 100% record, winning their two league games and cup game without conceding a goal. Moneyfields’ first-team coach, Karl Watson, was on hand to support the youngsters which was great to see.
There was a good crowd of spectators considering the poor weather we’ve been having on the south coast. The forecast was looking good for the match, with no rain due to arrive until well into the afternoon.
The early stages of the game were quite even with both sets of players getting to grips with what was a tight and compact pitch.
Moneyfields’ right-winger, Tilly Harkness, opened the scoring after about ten minutes. She picked up the ball on the right flank and managed to hold off the full-back, as she cut into the penalty area she cut onto her left foot and fired into the net.
After the goal, Fareham Town struggled to get control of the ball and it was Moneyfields who were dictating the play. Although Fareham forward, Ella Lane, was a constant threat and gave the Moneyfields centre-backs no time on the ball.
Harkness grabbed her second of the game thanks to some good work from Izzy Govinden to give the visitors a two-goal cushion.
Fareham Town refused to give in and were able to strike back through Lane. The forward ran onto a lovely weighted pass from Meredith Pake to drive passed two defenders before cooly finishing into the top right just before half time.
Moneyfields came out strong in the second half and showed great strength all over the pitch. Moneyfields’ Farrah Thompson picked up a miss-placed pass and delighted the away fans with an excellent shot from outside the box to restore a that two-goal cushion.
The lead was extended by Lucy Spencer. Moneyfields keeper, Jess Robinson, played out from the back with the ball making it was to Spencer who turned and pushed the ball past the defender, ran through to goal and fired across the keeper into the net.
As the minutes ticked away Fareham realised that the pressure was off and began to play with more freedom. That newfound belief was rewarded when Pake and Lane again combined and Lane tapped in for her thirteenth goal of the season.
Moneyfields were able to see out the game and picked up three points which puts them joint top with AFC Portchester as both sides have a record of three wins in their first three games.
On the win, Moneyfields’ manager, Tom Lynn told me, “All in all, a nice performance against an ever-improving Fareham Town side who put up a very good fight. Our girls are starting to develop their style of play as a team and as individuals. We started off playing sloppy today, especially in the first half. We weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. But there was a massive improvement in the second half from all the girls, who worked hard and fought as a team and ultimately came out on top.”