Intermediate Girls Soccer

 The Intermediate Girls Soccer Team headed down to Cheltenham on 25 July to take on the other divisional winners in the Southern Metro Regionals.

The day got off to a slightly rocky start when we rolled into the venue to be greeted by a fire engine and a police car. However, after twenty minutes of wondering whether or not the tournament would go ahead, the fire officers declared the small fire at the back of the clubhouse building had not affected its structural integrity, and the games were free to get underway.

The pool games saw McKinnon pitted against Dandenong and Mornington.

In the first game against Dandenong we kicked with a fierce breeze at our back. After a couple of near misses Teresa Morrissey opened the scoring from long range. She doubled the lead shortly after with a goal that is becoming something of a special for her - Antonin Panenka gave his name to the chipped penalty, Johan Cruyff gave his name to the Cruyff Turn and, in the intermediate girls team at least, the corner that goes directly in will become known as the Teresa. After ensuring the team made it through the Kingston competition in May by scoring directly from a corner, she did it again at the SMR. Even though we were leading 2-0 at half time, we had to defend grimly against the wind in the second half. Schuyler King marshalled the defence expertly and Angel Lignos in goals dealt with the balls that did come through to ensure that our day got off to a successful start.

Winning our first game meant we could watch the other two teams in our pool take each other on before we took to the pitch again. The 1-1 draw they played meant that draw or win against Mornington and we played off for a spot at the State Finals. The wind again played its part and the game was largely played in Morningtons half as they attacked with it in the first half. We played attritional football as we sought to maintain our clean sheet and make sure Anthea Dimas, who had stepped into goals for this game, did not have many difficult saves to make. Even though we did have the wind in the second half, we still struggled to create any clear scoring chances. The 0-0 draw was, however, enough to send us through to the final against Gleneagles, who had won the other pool.

In the Final, McKinnon had first use of the wind which was still blowing just as strongly as it had all day. The game was, however, more end-to- end than the other games we had played. We knew we needed to score with the wind but time ticked away as Gleneagles won a series of corners. We did continue to defend resolutely as we had all day. With only seconds remaining in the first half, we did finally score. Anthea Dimas; throw near half way eluded the defender and Chloe Sloman drove with the ball down the line. A shimmy and some deft footwork sent her free and the Gleneagles centre back that had thwarted much of our attacking play throughout the half was drawn out towards her. As she came, Chloe slotted the ball past her and into Jemma Owens run. A good first touch opened up the goal and her shot was just wide enough of their keeper for the ball to head towards the inside of the post as their defence scrambled back to try and prevent it sneaking in. To our relief and jubilation the ball hit the inside of the post and nestled in the back of the net. 1-0 to McKinnon but half a game against the wind still to come. As we had all day, however, we defended grimly against the wind, clearing our lines and not taking any chances near their goal. While it was not pretty, it was effective and for the third consecutive game our defence held strong.

Congratulations to all members of the team and a special thank you to both Anthea and Angel for sharing the goalkeeping duties. We did not concede a goal all day which was testament to both keepers and the way the team defended in front of them. We now look forward to the State Finals next month.

Matthew Shaw


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