The RAF Ladies representative team took on the GB Police ladies team in a warm up match before the GB Police’s European qualifiers. The game looked to be going to the RAF until a killer free kick in injury time leveled the score 1-1.
A bright start from both teams saw RAF Captain Zara McIntosh beat two defenders and knock a good ball out wide to Sam Wiley who crossed well but the goal keeper did well and collected the ball. The Police then had a great chance as they broke down the right playing a great ball into the box which was blocked by Rach Rutherford, but the ball dropped to the Police striker who was stopped in her tracks by Rutherford with a thunderous tackle, enabling her to gain possession and break away.
After only 5 minutes the RAF took the lead following Carly Thomas threading a great ball beyond the police defence to Zara McIntosh, who neatly finished past the oncoming Police keeper. 1-0 to the RAF.
Great interplay between Sam Wiley and Belinda Martin nearly got Wiley through on goal, only for a excellent last ditch tackle from the Police captain. More great skill from McIntosh saw her get to the by-line and hang up a lovely cross into the area. Belinda Martin got there first but headed just wide. Great play from the RAF.
After 20 minutes the Police again created another attack only to run into the brick wall that is Rutherford who produced another solid tackle to break up the play.
A late tackle on the edge of the box gave the RAF a free kick which Keri Haywood took, drilling a good strike straight at the keeper. On the half hour the Police broke away and found themselves one on one with just the keeper to beat but she produced an excellent save, when they should have scored.
As half time approached the Police number 18 made a great run down the line and squared the ball to the oncoming striker who hit her shot straight at the keeper with the rebound falling to the Police number 8, who had an open goal but still managed to blaze it over.
The last five minutes of the half saw the RAF back on top with some great possession play from back to front. Half time RAF 1 – 0 GB Police
The RAF started the stronger of the two sides in the second half and a great through ball from Rachel Howes gave Belinda Martin a run at goal but unfortunately she was given offside when she looked to have timed the run perfectly.
More great play down the left between Belinda Martin and Sam Wiley saw Wiley slip away but her shot was blocked and deflected off for a corner. On 53 minutes another excellent ball in from Wiley found Carly Thomas in a great position, she got up well but saw her header go straight at the keeper, fantastic move from the Air Force. With 30 minutes left to play Rachel Howes unleashed an unbelievable effort from 40 yards out, crashing off the bar, when it looked like it was going in, and would have deserved a goal.
The RAF really dominated the second half and just needed to find a second goal to kill off the game. But the Police still posed a threat and on 79 minutes the RAF needed another great bit of defending by Rachel Howes to break up another police attack; great performances from the RAF centre halves. With the RAF looking to run the clock down again with some great possession play they continued to seek the second goal the performance deserved, to see the game out.
Playing for time saw some great work from Keri Haywood, Zara McIntosh and Belinda Martin who worked the ball into the corner to waste some time. With 4 minutes of added time called the wait for the final whistle seemed endless. On 94 minutes the Police were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area on the edge of the box, which presented the Police a chance to level the score. The Police number 10 took an excellent free kick seeing her effort fly into the top corner, a real sucker punch for the RAF team. Full time RAF 1-1 GB Police.
A fair result in the end and the RAF should be proud of their efforts after a super first performance of the season with great debuts for Chantelle Lovell and Lynne McMullon.
Player of the Match : Sam Wiley
Report courtesy of the RAF