Cornwall Women entertain Yorkshire visitors
On a bitterly cold afternoon Cornwall FA Women’s representative side played their first match in 3 years, a crowd of 215 turned out to watch Cornwall take on Leeds United Ladies. Leeds were visiting West Cornwall during a break in their league fixtures, former Leeds United Academy Coach Jason Blunt and former Leeds United Chairman David Haigh helped to organise the trip and arrange the game. There was nothing to choose between the teams for the majority of the match, but in the end it was Leeds who triumphed due to clinical finishing when their chances arose.
It is also worth noting that Leeds play together on a weekly basis and that the Cornwall squad was put together in just 3 weeks following trials held by the Cornwall management team of Vicky Fisher, Beth Willshaw and Matt George, they were still getting to know each other in the warm ups.
The initial stages of the game saw Leeds start quickly but not really threatening the Cornwall goal due to the impressive shape and structure of the Cornwall team, Zoe Arundell-Lethbridge (St Agnes) and Lauren Bennett (Charlestown) were looking particularly solid at centre half and when Leeds tried to attack down the wings, full backs Kaitlyn Harris (Charlestown) and Jodie Hood (St Agnes) were following the lead of their Centre backs. Cornwall started to grow into the game were winning the midfield battle with captain Dani Salt (Plymouth Argyle) particularly combative in central midfield.
After repelling the early attacks, Cornwall looked to come forward and put Leeds on the back foot, Kerri Ann-Moxom (Helston) was starting to get into the game playing in the number 10 role and the pacy Laura Beth-Medcalf (St Agnes) was great outlet on right and causing plenty of problems for the Leeds left back.
Leeds though created the first clear cut chance on 20 minutes, a counter attack saw Cornwall a little short in numbers at the back and a cracking through ball found the Leeds United left winger, she cut inside and looked for all the world like she would score but Lyndsey Mayers (Mousehole) on her home ground produced a stunning save to keep the scores level.
Cornwall responded quickly and created their first chance, Moxom found Beth Overton (Charlestown) who in turn found Chevonne Johanning (Charlestown) on the left wing, Johanning drove at the Leeds defence and slipped the ball through to the very lively Tori Marks (Charlestown), Marks rounded the keeper but with defenders covering on the line cut back on to her right foot and fired a shot inches wide. It was a warning to Leeds that Cornwall possessed a threat, in response Leeds this time attacked down the right wing, however on the rare occasion they broke through the defence they couldn’t find a way past Myers, who produced two fine reaction saves.
Cornwall again came close just before half time, Marks was causing havoc with her tireless running and after some good interplay with Overton found Moxom on the right wing but her shot crept narrowly wide. With a squad of 18 Cornwall made some changes to freshen things up, Faye Ivall (Plymouth Argyle) came on for Medcalf and Amber Hadrill (Charlestown) replaced Marks. Cornwall had more than held their own but on stroke half time found themselves 1-0 down, a long ball down the right into the area saw the pacy Leeds striker nip in ahead of the on-rushing Mayers and get to the by-line before squaring for strike partner to guide home. Within a minute the half time whistle blew, and whilst the score was harsh on Cornwall there was plenty of cause for optimism for the 2nd half.
As we started the 2nd half Cornwall made 3 more changes, Sara Rowe (Callington) replaced Mayers in goal, Alice Bennion (Charlestown) came on in central midfield and Charlotte Whitmore (Cornwall ACC) came onto the left wing.
Similar to the first half Leeds looked to apply early pressure but the Cornwall defence, superbly Marshalled by Overton looked strong, and again when breached Cornwall were fortunate that their last line of defence, this time in the form of Rowe was well placed to make great saves, one particular save diving full stretch to her right was superb, especially as a couple of Leeds players were off celebrating thinking the ball had found the corner of the net. The final player for Cornwall Sally Salter (Cornwall ACC) entered the game and was straight into the thick of the midfield battle.
Cornwall’s closest effort was a free kick from Hadrill from 30 yards which went just the wrong side of the post
Cornwall continued to rotate their players and it was maybe this which led to a lack of communication as Leeds doubled their lead on 70 minutes. A corner from the right hand side was flicked on and into the path of the Leeds striker who kept her composure to fire home, although Rowe very nearly tipped it round the post.
Cornwall opened up a little now and looked to find a goal their efforts deserved but despite some good pressure they couldn’t quite find the opening. With the game now stretched it was Leeds who had the final say, making it 3-0 after a scramble in the box following a quick break.
Cornwall had a couple more efforts from distance, through Marks and Moxom but could not find a way through before referee Derek Hughes blew his whistle to end the game.
It was a great effort from Cornwall and credit to the management that such a good team was put out and was so well organised off the back of two trials and a training session. Thank you to Mousehole for their fantastic hosting of what was a fabulous advert for the Women’s game in the County.
Cornwall Team – 1. Lyndsey Mayers ), 2. Kaitlyn Harris, 3.Jodie Hood, 4. Beth Overton, 5. Lauren Bennett, 6.Zoe Arundell Lethbridge, 7.Laura Beth-Medcalf, 8. Dani Salt (Captain) 9. Tori Marks, 10. Kerri Ann-Moxom, 11. Chevonne Johanning
Subs (All Played) Sara Rowe (GK) , Sally Salter, Faye Ivall, Chloe Harris, Charlotte Whitmore, Amber Hadrill, Alice Bennion