The Houston Bulldogs started district play on the road to Lutheran South. Historically, this has always been a competitive fixture with Lutheran having a slight advantage in our head-head stats. Returning players were eager to even the score and the fresh-faced Bulldogs were ready to make an immediate impression our league opponents.
This game would prove to be similar to previous encounters, exciting, fast paced and frustrating for both sides.
The Bulldogs had the majority of possession and would press Lutheran for much of the first half. The disciplined and high defensive line of Lutheran would prove to be difficult for the Bulldogs to penetrate and offside would be their joker card. Georgia (# 7) and Amber (#21) were unlucky to be called offside on several occasions.
Lutheran had their chances too with Goalkeeper Cerys making a few excellent saves and central defenders, Freya (#20), Iona (#3) and Isa (#19) making some key tackles to prevent any danger.
After a frustrating first 40 minutes it was all even at the half. 0-0.
An inspired half-time team talk, a few tactical changes and the Bulldogs took the field for the second half, eager to continue to pressure the Lutheran defense. Georgia and Amber would both have chances, through balls from Bethan (#4) and Milena (#8) would trouble the Lutheran defense but Bulldogs could not find the back of the net. Lutheran again had its own chances but their attacks were dealt with comfortably by the Bulldogs defense.
10 minutes to go. Still 0-0. Both sides were defending well, would there be a late winner?
Step in sub Izzy (#5). With 7-minutes left to play the ball fell at Izzy’s feet. She slotted a ball through a gap in the Lutheran defense right into the path of Milena (#8). Milena dribbled towards the goal and calmly passed the ball to the right of the keeper. 0-1 Bulldogs.
- up with 5 minutes to play, but the game wasn’t over yet.
Two minutes to go and Lutheran were awarded a questionable free kick. That’s football for you! Credit to the Lutheran player who put the ball in the back of the net with a very well struck ball.
There was a nervous energy in the air for both teams. The Bulldogs had been here before- it would take a penalty shootout to decide this match.
Step up: Goalkeeper Cerys and brave penalty kick takers Georgia, Milena, Bethan, Emma and Amber.
Bulldogs would go first but a great save from Georgia’s penalty and a very well-placed Lutheran penalty would see the South side team draw first blood.
LS 1- 0 Bulldogs.
Milena scored. A fantastic penalty- low and hard into the right side of the net.
Lutheran would have kept the lead if it wasn’t for a diving save by keeper Cerys!
LS 1- 1 Bulldogs.
Bethan smashed her penalty past the Lutheran keeper to take the lead and the pressure was too much for Lutherans next penalty taker as it sailed over the cross bar.
LS 1- 2 Bulldogs.
Bulldogs 4th penalty taker Emma was unlucky to see her penalty hit the crossbar.
Lutheran had the opportunity to level the score but their taker would put the ball just wide.
This was it Amber needed to score to win the game. She smashed the ball right into the top of net!
LS 1- 3 Bulldogs
BULLDOGS WIN! Lutheran South 1- 1 BIS Houston Bulldogs 1-3 (Pens)
Match report by Coach Marnock