Levy Ladies Under 18s fine unbeaten run, finally came to an end against an excellent Hemel Town Ladies team, to end their County Cup dream at the quarter final stage.
As usual in this competition, the girls once again had to play without several key players from the squad due to ineligibility on the grounds of being too young to play! ...and coupled with some illness in the starting XI this handicapped the team further.
Kicking downhill in the first half Levy set out a 4-1-4-1 formation with a plan to hold Hemel for as long as possible and hopefully catch them in the second half when their youthful legs would take over. Unfortunately for Levy, Hemel were very strong at the back and through the middle of the park, and the away side couldn't keep the ball in the Hemel final third and found the powerful home side dominating the midfield and having a series of long powerful shots that took all of Kiera's skill in goal to keep out.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when the home side's pressure finally broke through the Levy back line and they took a deserved lead, this was followed after a further period of dominance with a 2nd goal just minutes later and at this point Levy switched to a 4-4-2 to try to hold the ball more in the opponents half. This seemed to work well as the girls settled more into the game as half time approached.
The second half saw Anna Novelli make her long awaited return from injury up front and paired with Mel in order to give more threat in the final third, and after beginning with an initial Hemel burst Levy quickly began to play their passing game and create more opportunities.
The next 30 minutes saw Hemel increasingly pushed back by the flowing Levy Green football, and whilst always a threat with long shots, Hemel began to be increasingly concerned with Levy's attacking threat and with Cally Salter looking stronger and stronger in the middle of the park and more and more width being used the game was finely balanced.
In a 5 minute spell midway through the 2nd half chances fell to both Leigh & Anna but they couldn't quite convert and whilst Levy still looked the better of the 2 sides the main chances had come & gone.
With just 5 minutes remaining and with Levy now playing as many as four in attack, Hemel predictably broke away and with an attacker seeing the ball bounce her way after a 50/50 with Ellen Rogers they put the game beyond reach with the 3rd goal of the game. To rub salt in the wound Hemel scored their fourth goal of the game, with more than a hint of offside, on the final whistle.
Hemel were good value for the win on the day, but the Levy Ladies Under 18s should hold their heads high as they gave their all and were the better side for long spells in the 2nd half and didn't deserve to lose by more than the 2 first half goals.
Player of the match was Kiera Fitzsimmons who was sensational throughout.