MATCH REPORT: Republica 0:1 Ripon City Ladies
Republica Women were unlucky to miss out on a point after a hard fought game against last year’s league cup winners, Ripon City Ladies.
Republica Internationale’s fourth game of the season saw them drawn at home against Ripon City Ladies - a team only known to the squad as the winners of the West Riding County Womens Football League Cup in 2017/18. After struggling with squad numbers for the past two games and battling for a difficult draw against Tyersal (3:3) the week before, Republica women were ready for their fortunes to change.
Despite some last minute bad luck - illness once again knocked our squad down from 12 to 11 - Republica were still able to field a strong team to face Ripon. With the team able to assume a more traditional 4-4-1-1 formation, May Martin took her place in goal, with a back line of Ruth Tucknott, Cathy Brennan, Hilary Rees and Rachel Grima (C), followed up by a midfield of Tania Aghanian, Georgia Ellis, Molly Asher and Lorna Gledhill, and returning striker Jane Turner supported up top by Kamilla Klausholm.
With two defensive games under our belt, Republica started well, cutting off Ripon’s attacking play in midfield and sweeping up loose balls at the back. Centre-backs Brennan and Rees identified Ripon’s main threat early on - a quick and keen-footed striker - and were able to protect Martin from many clear shots on goal. Finding our feet in the game, great runs down the wing from Aghanian and play-making from Asher gave Turner the opportunity to challenge Ripon’s keeper. Finishing the first half pretty evenly matched, both teams knew all was to play for.
Republica started the second half hoping to convert confident attacking play into an early goal. However, ten minutes or so into the second half, Ripon made the most of a quick counter-attack, managing to penetrate Republica’s strong defensive line to sneak a goal past Martin. Unfortunately much of the second half was marred by some poor referee decisions, including a bizarre reluctance to book one of Ripon’s players following two dangerous and aggressive fouls on Martin and Rees. With tensions rising, Republica had to dig deep to find the energy for a spirited final 30 minutes, particularly after injury left the squad with 10 players. But despite shots from Turner and Asher, Republica were unable to equalise, leaving them 0:1 down at full-time.
With all eleven players battling until the 90th minute, Republica were unlucky not to get more from the game. For her relentless determination at the back, Hilary Rees took player of the match, with Asher once again getting special mention for her midfield play.
With a break from standard league fixtures this weekend, Republica women are drawn at home against Pontefract Sport and Social Ladies in the League Cup.
If you’re not on the pitch, see you on the sidelines!