The Bulldogs first home league game saw them take on the Falcons from Frasatti Catholic School. Historically, this is a difficult game for the Bulldogs with Frasatti coming out on top, in what is always a close and gritty game.
Frasatti started the game well, pressuring the bulldogs defense with a few early half-chances, easily gathered up by goal keeper Cerys. Five-minutes into the game Cerys bravely went to the ground to recover the ball, collided with the Frasatti striker taking a knock to the head. Fearless, as ever she played on.
This would be the turning point for the Bulldogs who settled into the game and started to pressure the Falcons defense.
20-minutes into the first half the Bulldogs won the ball from a Frasatti goal kick. The ball fell to Izzy (#5) who played an inside pass to Milena (#8). Milena collected the ball, took on a Frasatti midfielder, settled herself and unleashed a right footed bullet into the left of the Frasatti goal.
The rest of the first half was end to end with both defenses playing well. The Bulldogs back three of Iona (#3), Freya (#20) and Isa (#24) were formidable and didn’t let anything past them, with defensive midfielder Bethan breaking up plays all over the pitch.
Unfortunately, at the half Goalkeeper Cerys was examined by medical staff and was unable to continue. Freya (#20) heroically stepped into the role. The injury to stating keeper lit a fire in the Bulldogs and they took to the field determined to protect the keeper at all costs, certain that nothing would get past them.
Frasatti would test the Bulldogs defense straight away but were met by a wall. True to their word they created a defensive fortress that would not be broken.
7-minutes into the half the Bulldogs attacking pressure was rewarded with a corner. Bethan (#4) crossed the ball to the edge of the box. Milena (#8) picked the ball up and with nowhere to go played it back out wide to Bethan. Bethan crossed the ball back into the 6-yard box, and was rewarded as the Frasatti defender headed the ball into her own net.
After more defensive excellence the ball once again fell to Milena (#8) in midfield. She played a pass down the right wing to Georgia (#7) who played a fantastic cross right across the Frasatti goal. The Falcons keeper could only palm the ball into the path of Amber (#21) whose shot was cleared by the hand of the Frasatti defender. Penalty Bulldogs! Captain Georgia (#7) stepped up. She had been in this position before and once again made no mistake as she slotted the ball home. 15-minutes to play.
Credit to Frasatti who continued to try and pressure, but the Bulldogs remained strong and some outstanding defending from Lina (#18), Iona (#3) and Isa (#24) would prevent any real threat. New goal keeper Freya would stay alert getting of her line quickly on a few occasions to collect the ball.
With 8 minutes to go: Isa (#24) put in a fantastic tackle winning the ball and passing it to Milena (#8) in the midfield. Yet again Milena would play a menacing ball into the Frasatti box causing the keeper to palm the ball back into the 6-yard box. Emma (#2) was there at the back post to pounce on the ball and smash it home.
The bulldogs were hungry for more and their continued pressure was rewarded with a free kick on the right side of midfield. Milena (#8) would take a clever quick free kick to Georgia (#7) on the right wing. Georgia, who once again caused problems for the Frasatti defense, battled past 2 players to take the ball to the by-line then, she fizzed a cross right over the face of goal. The
Bulldogs were unable to make contact but sheer determination meant that Ava (#10) retrieved the ball and played a pass back to Cato (#14) just outside the 6-yard box. Her first time right footed strike was unstoppable as it burst the back of the Frasatti net.
Frasatti would continue to search for a late consolation and it almost came! In the dying minutes of the game Frasatti were awarded a free-kick. It was goal bound at the back post, and the whole stadium though it was in until Milena, from nowhere, cleared the ball of the line.
Clean sheet preserved.
Everyone in a Bulldogs shirt played their hearts out. The aggression, determination and desire to win was unquestionable and this win was a real team effort.
Legends in the making: what a fantastic start to the 2020-21 season!
Match report by Coach Marnoch