Kelburne Women's First string improve but lose out to Grove

Grove (H) - Sat 14 Nov

Kelburne HC 0
Grove 4

Saturday 14November saw Kelburne's penultimate outdoor match of 2009. It was a cold and rainy afternoon at Bellahouston, however the girls were more than up for the challenge of playing Grove, Scotland's number one team of season 2008/2009.

Kelburne were without the influential presence of coach Susan Ahrens, as a result of questionable match ban. Which was due to a clash of personalities, after some controversial umpiring decisions inflicted on Kelburne - by another Glasgow club's umpire.  However the girls were safe in the presence of the ever reliable and reassuring figure of Mr T, and with the experience of Mr Alan Bryce to take care of the bench.

After somewhat disappointing results in previous weeks, this was a crucial game for Kelburne, in terms of both individual and team performances, and pride.

The Kelburne girls made a great start, playing a much tighter game and closing down early in midfield and up front.  Forwards Adele Dastey and Julie Bryce making their presence known to the Grove defenders.  There was quick passing play round the back and a focus on early passing throughout the team.  The team played a solid defending game where necessary, with Grove's trademark baseline runs, cut backs and back post finishing not being allowed to feature. However midway through the half, this is exactly how the Dundee team opened the scoring with Ailsa Robertson scoring neatly at the back post.  Kelburne continued to play with strength and character, gradually building up play with Nicola Ralph and Julia Wilson connecting well on the right side.  And Kate Longnotham and Liz Cochrane working well on the left.  Kelburne were unlucky not to score on several occassions and on another day, a crossed ball from the left would have been slammed home by last season's top scorer, Amy Hislop.  Grove then made it two with a clean strike from Ali Bell.  The first half finished with some fast attacking play from Grove and some great defending from Aileen Yates, Jen Hendry and Kristine Ayling.

At half time the mood was extremely positive with Kelburne in agreement that a result was for the taking from Grove.  A turning point in the second half has to be the 'taking out' of young striker Emma Barlow by experienced Grove keeper.  Through one on one,  a cynical foul, and no penalty flick was awarded to Kelburne. Within five minutes a Grove attack resulted in a penalty flick being awarded at the other end.  No fault of talented keeper Cath Rae, reason given was Grove striker being 'put off' by a Kelburne defender. 

The second half continued with an even sided competition between the two teams.  Laura Wrightson and Katie MacKay doing a great job through the middle of the pitch against Grove's Scotland internationalists.  Kelburne persisted in attacking and made several excellent attacking plays.  However the final pass just didn't quite appear to be there.  Grove, a well organised and fast attacking side continued to build up their attacking play - and eventually broke through the Kelburne defence to score two in the second half, one through a well executed corner routine.

As the game ended it was clear to see the frustration on the faces of the Kelburne team, as at least a goal would have been a welcome reward for a hardworking and committed team performance.  However the mood is up beat as huge steps were made in bouncing back from recent disappointments, and there is now anticipation of an excellent end to the season next week up in Highland.