On a perfect October evening the RAF LRT took on The New Saints in their 3rd friendly fixture of the season. A 3-0 defeat to Wolves Ladies FC in September left the team hungry to get back to winning ways.
Immediate RAF pressure caused problems for the TNS defence with a succession of throws and eventually a corner being won. The creative set piece was well cleared by the TNS centre half.
Skipper McIntosh had the beating of her full back all night and received the ball out wide after good quick passing through the thirds. Driving infield on her favoured right foot she created a yard of space for the shot only for TNS to smother it and clear the danger. The RAF pressed high and the only way out for TNS was the long ball over the top for their pacey centre forward who got in behind a few times during the match without really causing keeper Clark much work.
The RAF looked dangerous every time the ball was played into, player of the match, Haywood in the lone striker role. She linked play superbly and TNS struggled to cope with the pressure, however the RAF couldn’t take their chances throughout the first half. The score 0-0 at half time.
The second half saw TNS make 7 changes and bring on fresh legs, but the RAF were still the dominant team with Davies and McKenzie running midfield, and McIntosh and Martin thriving off balls out wide. On 55 mins the RAF had the ball in the back of the net after a sweeping move from back to front – McIntosh beat her full back on the outside and crossed a low hard ball in which Martin put in at the back post, only to see the goal ruled out for off side. Moments later after winning the ball back high up the pitch the RAF won a corner and a superb delivery was headed inches over by Howes. The next phase of play saw Wylie and McIntosh link up on the right with a driven ball delivered across the face of goal, Martin could only slide in and toe poke it inches wide.
With the RAF looking like the only team likely to score TNS took a quick throw on their right and found their No9 who’s touch invited Clark to come and take, but a slip by the keeper left her stranded and TNS slotted home to take the lead against the run of play (68min) 0-1.
RAF sub, Scotty came on for debutant McKenzie. The RAF continued to look dangerous every time they went forward but simply could not convert. With the legs tiring and TNS still fresh after their changes, the RAF were caught short from another TNS throw and somehow ended up 3 on 3 at the back and TNS made it count with a cool finish (78min) 0-2 .
RAF sub, debutant Mester replaced Martin on 80mins, and the RAF continued to create chance after chance. Haywood and Cassin linked well and found McIntosh who beat her player and drove infield into the area 1 on 1 with the keeper, goal! (84min) 1-2 game on.
TNS dropped deeper trying to hold onto the lead, a great delivery from Mester saw Haywood’s goal-bound header superbly saved by the TNS keeper for a corner. Which again saw Mester find Haywood for the shot which the keeper took and held. The final few seconds saw TNS professionally keep the ball to count down the clock. Full time. 1-2.
Superb performance by the RAF LRT, just couldn’t take their chances.
Starting Line Up
Flt Lt Belinda Martin
Cpl Zara McIntosh (Captain)
Sgt Nicky Davies
Cpl Ash McKenzie
SAC Lauren Cassin
SAC Roxy Clark
SAC Keri Haywood
SAC Rachel Howes
SAC Chantelle Lovell
SAC Rachael Rutherford
SAC Sam Wylie
AC Ashlyn Mester
Cpl Tara Scott
The RAF Ladies next fixture is v Welsh Colleges at University South Wales Sports Park, 26 Nov 15, 1500 KO.
Report courtesy of the RAF