Forsyth Central Bulldogs vs Cambridge Lady Bears – Wednesday, February 21st 5:55PM
The Bears played the Forsyth Central Bulldogs on an unusually mild evening on Wednesday, in what turned out to be a very close match, decided by a single goal early in the game.
The Bulldogs took the lead in the 7th minute from a break down the right wing. It was a well taken goal, on the volley, from an inviting cross. 1-0 Bulldogs. A couple of minutes later the Bulldogs almost doubled the lead as another break and dangerous cross from the right put the Bears defense under pressure, this time the shot fortunately sailed over the bar.
A short Bears corner in the 15th minute looked promising as the ball was well worked into the penalty area and Erica Quinn (37) stuck the bar with a shot.
The game was threatening to get physical, but a yellow card shown to a Bulldogs midfielder in the 21st minute for persistent fouling, ensured both sides competed fairly.
A vital interception from Alis Petty (28) was needed in the 27th minute, to prevent a certain goal as the Bears defense was outnumbered. The Bears then attacked via a long ball from Erica Quinn (37), however the Bulldogs did well to stop the ball reaching Maria Naegle (34). A minute later Abby Fields (22) shot just wide.
Ashley Spina (41) prevented the Bulldogs from adding a goal in the 33rd minute with a great save at the feet of the marauding striker. A minute later, as the end of the first half approached, a goal saving clearance was needed from Abiba Basharu (32). Half time, 1-0 Bulldogs.
The opening 10 minutes of second half turned into a midfield battle as both sides tried to gain control of the game and snatch a match defining goal.
The Bears pushed forward in the 46th minute, culminating in an ambitious long range shot from Abby Fields (22) that the goalkeeper held on comfortably. Elle Cheevers (27) then hit a firm shot towards goal, but just missed the target to the left.
As the Bulldogs ramped up the pressure again, the Bears defense resisted magnificently with vital blocks and interceptions from Alis Petty (28) and Abiba Basharu (32). Another diving stop from Ashley Spina (41) in the 51stminute went out for a corner. The Bears goalkeeper was called into action again, this time smothering the ball bravely at the feet of the Bulldogs striker in the 56th minute.
A good run and cross from the right wing by Maria Naegle (34) in the 67th minute couldn't find a Bears striker as the Bulldogs goalkeeper claimed the ball calmly. As the clock wound down to the last two minutes of the game, Karina Naik (30) struck the ball firmly from distance, but unfortunately the ball curved away from goal.
The game ended 1-0 to the Bulldogs. Up next for the Bears are the Centennial Knights on Thursday for our third game of the week.
Centennial Knights vs Cambridge Lady Bears – Thursday, February 22nd 5:55PM
We played our final game of the week against the Centennial Knights in Roswell on another very pleasant evening. The Bears were looking to end the week on a high after two narrow loses this week.
The Bears applied good early pressure with nice passing moves and confident play in midfield as Karina Naik (30), Erica Quinn (37) and Abby Fields (22) weaved the ball around the Knights in search of an opening goal.
The Bears forced several throw-ins deep in Knights territory but couldn't convert any chances into a goal. As luck would have it, and completely against the run of play, the Knights got the opening goal of the game from a rare counter attack in the 20th minute. 1-0 Knights.
The goal spurred the Knights and required a crucial save from Ashley Spina (41) 5 minutes later to keep the deficit down to a single goal.
A beautiful pass from Katie Abbott (33) in midfield split the Knights defense and found Elle Cheevers (27) a minute later, but the resulting shot was not firm enough to trouble the Knights goalie. The first half ended 1-0 in favor of the Knights.
Bears came out for the second half determined and fired up. Erica Quinn (37) and Karina Naik (30) with some nice interchanging play in midfield early on, but the Bears front line could not chase down the cross. A through ball from Abby Fields (22) in the 40th minute was just a tad too hard as it failed to reach Erica Quinn (37) as she ran towards goal.
The Bears equalizing goal came just a minute later as Safiya Said (24) unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards out. The ball nestling in the Knights goal to the delight of the Bears players and fans. A super goal, 1-1 and game on!
The Knights came back strongly and enjoyed a good spell of possession to put the Bears under pressure, asking the Bears defense difficult questions, but we had the answers and stood firm! Alis Petty (28) and Abiba Basharu (32) at heart of every important block and tackle.
As we entered the last 10 minutes of the game, the stakes were high as the next goal from either team, would most likely be a winning goal. The Knights striker was through on goal in the 63rd minute with only the Bears goalkeeper to beat, but shot harmlessly wide. A few minutes later the Knights again came close to snatching a goal. A dangerous cross meandered across the Bears goal as two Knights strikers lurked close by, fortunately for us, neither could reach to the ball.
Then in the 67th minute, Bears perseverance, heart and never give up attitude finally and deservedly paid off. Abby Fields (22) was brought down unfairly in the 18-yard area as she ran towards goal. The referee immediately blew his whistle and awarded a penalty. Abby Fields (22) converting the penalty emphatically to the goalkeepers right. 2-1 Bears.
There was no more drama in the final minutes as the Bears held on for an important win, 2-1. A magnificent victory from a goal down. We play Creekview next at Cambridge on Monday, February 26th at 7:30.