Flying Falcons light up dull and dreary December morning in Holcombe
Three wins, a draw and a single defeat see the Blackheath Under-12 girls side take second place in the triangular tournament in Holcombe against the hosts, Sutton Valance and Herne Bay
The players of Blackheath Falcons endeavoured to light up the suburbs of Chatham with a series of fine displays against the hosts Holcombe and fellow visitors Sutton Valance and Herne Bay on a dull and dreary December morning on Sunday.
The under-12 girls’ side finished the tournament in second place but with performances worthy of topping the table.
The Falcons began with a narrow win over Holcombe’s first string side – the Harriers . Ellie Kinch in goal produced a series of stunning saves to halt the hosts early onslaught. Evie Costello and Amelia Couper also made a number of vital interceptions in defence. But as the game wore on the Falcons got into their stride and began to dominate.
And with a couple of minutes left a period of sustained pressure finally paid off. The ball ricocheted around the D with shots flying in from all directions Nina Bowles’ effort deflected back to Ria Bennett-Lee and she managed to squeeze the ball into the corner of the net from 10 yards out.
The victory was followed by a 1-1 draw with Herne Bay, which shall be remembered for a long time for a fine equaliser from Isla Thomas. The diminutive midfielder glided effortless through the opponents’ defence rounding three players with a mazy dribble before slotting the ball under the goalkeeper.
What followed was a flood of pressure as Nina Bowles (twice) and Isla Oliver all went close but the decisive second failed to materialise and the Kent Coast side managed to hold on.
The disappointment left the Falcons stunned and they appeared shell-shocked at the start of the third game. A quick break left the Falcons’ defence exposed and Ellie Kinch could do little to stop Holcombe Hornets taking the lead.
The goal seemed to awaken the Falcons and inspired by Isla Thomas and Analivia Elkins the visitors roared back. Analivia Elikins crossed superbly and a deft flick from Nina Bowles restored parity.
Nina then charged through herself and set up Ria Bennett-Lee to tap in to give the Falcons the lead. A quick break then found Ria in acres of space and she took her time before rifling into the unguarded net. She then compelted her hat-trick to make it 4-1.
The Hornets did claim a late consolation after a unlucky deflection off the stick of Amelia Couper, who has formed a solid defensive partnership with Evie Costello over the last few months.
The fourth game would prove to be the decider and for the Falcons it would be a case of so close but not close enough.
Early pressure gave the Kent side the lead, but the Falcons wove their way back in to the game quickly. Isla Thomas pirouetted like a Russian ballerina in the centre of the pitch to feed Analivia who levelled with aplomb.
Blackheath went chasing for the winner, but were caught with a cruel sucker punch at the death to slip to a 2-1 defeat. It would prove vital. A draw or a victory for the Falcons would have seen them win this particular triangular, that honour instead went to Sutton Valance courtesy of their late winner.
In the final game, the Falcons saw off Holcombe Hawks thanks to a neat finish from Analivia Elkins. Her face after having scored will live long in the memories of the Blackheath supporters.
Earlier Isla Oliver had gone close to give the visitors the lead, and Nina Bowles had also fired just narrowly wide.
So it would be second for the Falcons but a performance – and a growing team understanding – that promises much for the future of the club.