Ilkley Town women's team start of a new era

Managers Match Report - Ilkley Town vs Ripon City 

 Our Women's first team had their first game since the restart of football under manager Sam Holmshaw this Sunday. A final score of 9 - 4 to the visitors Ripon City may be seen as a poor or worrying result from the outside, But for me, I couldn’t be more happy with the performance.

 Let's put it into context, 5 U16 players promoted, 2 Guiseley U18’s players promoted, 1 player promoted from the  AW scholarship programme, and 8 players brought into the team who have joined us from other clubs made up the squad of 16. And after just 2 training sessions since the restart we were thrown into our first game in the supplementary cup against a good side that played in the league above.

 Having said all this, a really inspirational team talk from Captain Millie Ogden before the game. ‘I just want to say it's an honour to play with you all, I think we are going to be an excellent team and lots of success will come to this team’. I don't know about the players, but I was ready to go on the pitch and play myself!

 The first half was a real learning curve for us, we had said to the players beforehand not to worry about making mistakes, and take into the game what we did in training, and they did that! Playing out from the back, attempting possession play within our own half. Yes some could argue it cost us a few goals in the first half, but having only introduced these concepts in the wednesday session prior I was so pleased with the confidence our players showed to continue to attempt these principles.

 The most pleasing thing for myself was the response after going 1 goal behind. Straight away the team showed resilience to get that goal back, great play with combinations from Eva and Shaz led to Shaz scoring our first goal. Eva (U16 promoted player) showed experience beyond her years to draw the defenders towards her creating space in behind for Shaz to put the ball in the net. It was a really well worked goal! A special mention to Holly Davey, aged 18 playing her first ever 11-a-side game at LCB in the first half. Made some outstanding challengers in the first half and showed some real maturity at times.

 It was evident in the first half that after conceding 3 or 4 from some easily made mistakes the players lost a bit of confidence and resorted to launching the ball forwards and not wanting the ball in possession, we then made it very easy for Ripon, that's what they wanted from us, ball over the top so then they could play on the counter, and they did that very well and had several of their goals from that.

 After coming in at the break 7 - 1 behind, I was quite pleased, mainly because all of Ripon’s goals were easy and simple errors that our players made from a lack of first team experience. 3 months down the line, those mistakes won’t happen! At half-time, we gave the players a few points that we had been working on in training. In possession get the ball on the floor, can we create quick and purposeful movement, and primarily always play the ball forwards. Out of possession, can we organise into defensive lines, force the opposition to play wide and just have the nearest player pressing.

 Going into the second half, we did that. In possession we stopped launching hopeful balls into Ripon's half and started playing it on the floor, they really struggled to deal with our play. Our movement on and off the ball was fantastic.  Out of possession, we were organized, in defensive lines, Ripon struggled, they could no longer play through us and had no idea what to do. It was brilliant to watch! Half-time sub and Guiseley U18 player Josie Barnes worked her socks off and chased down every player in the initial

 You could see our team begin to grow and grow in confidence over the 40 minutes, they realised Ripon were struggling and began to go for the game. Larissa Brown & Emily Reader - Harris bossed the game in midfield along with auxiliary left back & captain Millie Ogden coming into the midfield to outnumber the opposition. Even goalkeeper Ellie Wilson demanded the ball when no other option represented itself, and really took charge with playing out from the back! Chloe Parker was brought on as CF with 25 minutes to go, and pressed and pressed and pressed those defenders, eventually causing Ripon's GK to make a mistake, giving her a chance to get a goal back for us, which she took magnificently.

 10 minutes later, another of the promoted U16’s Isabel Macina gets the ball on the right hand side and runs with it, getting past Ripon's defender and being thought on goal with the GK. First shot was saved but Isobel put in the rebound to make it 2 for Ilkley Town. Finally, with only a few minutes to spare Shaz brings out a few of her tricks as she did all game, and goes for the shot from well far out on the left and puts it in the top corner, another fantastic goal.

Two early goals in the second half for Ripon made it 9 for them and 4 for us, but from a management perspective, The second half our team displayed was pleasing, and gave a brief demonstration of the type of football we are attempting to get the women's first team to play! Guiseley U18 player Mazza Armstong and and old ilkley face in Jess Tindale were real rocks at the back in the second half, both young players aged 17 and 20 respectively but didn’t shy away from the challengers Ripon City attackers presented, and Air Wharf coach Lucy Hainsworth and veretan Erin Oxo have fresh legs and were real rocks in the team from RB and CM positions respectively.

 Player of the Match: Hannah Bryne - another of the promoted U16 players who played RB for the majority of the game, she was immense! Showed great strength for her age, wasn't fazed at all playing against open age opposition, worked immensely hard throughout the game in both attack and defence!

 Team player: Holly Parker - Also a promoted U16 player, came on in the second half as a right winger, showed great tactical understanding for her age, got into great positions, wasn't afraid to show for the ball, played some great combinations and took opposition players on 1 vs 1. Really impressive performance.