It was an unusually warm Wednesday afternoon at a buzzing Coach Lane, which hosted a very intense Christmas derby.
Newcastle were looking to conquer a vital victory after last match’s 3-2 unexpected defeat in Sheffield, in order to wrap up all three points to display under their Christmas tree. However, Northumbria had different plans and proved that their first position is not just fortuity.
Poly almost started with a bang, rattling the crossbar with an acrobatic scissor-kick, which caught Newcastle by surprise. Soon, Newcastle started bombarding Poly’s defence with penetrative passes that created confusion among Northumbria’s defence. However the linesman continuously waved the flag to signal offsides, though Jessica Meakin managed to get a shot away after a moment of hesitation from the home side.
“The atmosphere soon became tense and the game extremely physical”
On the other side, Northumbria’s Ella Thornton started to warm up as she represented the biggest danger for NUWFC throughout all the match. In fact, not long after her good shot was blocked by a full-stretch save by Emmy Campbell who then managed to bounce back to deny Laura Chellin’s rebound.
The atmosphere soon became tense and the game extremely physical. One of the fouls led to a free-kick from 30 yards which, however, was struck with an outstanding knuckleball by Northumbria’s Thornton which this time Emmy Campbell couldn’t catch: 1-0 to the hosts.
Newcastle’s defence appeared a bit intimated after that worldie and almost conceded a second goal, as a misled clearance gave Thornton the opportunity to score twice in a matter of minutes.
After Danielle Claydon stole the ball from Northumbria’s defender, she was mowed by the on-rushing goalkeeper to avoid a potential draw. The referee said to carry on, starting one of his many ambiguous decisions. Another interesting chance arrived moments later, as Zoe Rutter whipped in a venomous cross that Justine Lee missed only just.
The second half started after the referee had a chat with players and managers, as the atmosphere was becoming a bit too tense. Minutes later, he ironically showed a yellow card to a NUWFC player as she incidentally hit him with the ball.
“After Danielle Claydon stole the ball from Northumbria’s defender, she was mowed by the on-rushing keeper”
However, no Newcastle player was laughing when Zoe Rutter’s delightful long pass for Eleanor Mitchell was back passed by a Poly defender to her goalkeeper; the referee, once again, didn’t blow his whistle. Things got even worse when Anna Jimenez de Veciana’s headed goal was called off due to Justine Lee’s questionable offside position. Newcastle’s manager was fuming.
At this point, the referee completely lost control of the game as the teams became very nervous; Immy Ewbank and Rosa Evans finished on the ‘naughty list’, both being booked.
Anna Jimenez de Veciana kept putting pressure on Northumbria’s defence, chasing breathlessly every ball whilst the home team players tried to gain as many fouls as they could. One of these led to another free-kick from a more or less prohibitive position; however, Thornton once again stepped up and blasted the ball behind a helpless Emmy Campbell. 2-0 and final whistle.
Unfortunate result for the girls in blue who performed well and had good ideas but some decisions from the referee let them down.
POTM: Zoe Rutter