With the tail end of hurricane Abigail making conditions somewhat tricky, the Ardudwy girls this week faced local rivals Porthmadog in a fiercely contested match. The game began in sombre mood, with a minute’s silence observed by both teams as a sign of respect to those who lost their lives in this weekend’s tragic events in Paris. Following this, Porthmadog had first pushback and from the first whistle Ardudwy were putting pressure on the opposition. Ardudwy dominated the first half, constantly pressurising the Portmadog D and not allowing the girls in black and red to progress much beyond their own 25. A strong press from forwards Gwenno Davies, Jacqueline Smith and Seren Roberts (making an instant impact in her first match back following the birth of son, Seth only 12 weeks ago) ensured that Portmadog were unable to work the ball out of defence, while skilful ball carrying from player of the match Clare Barwood in the centre facilitated a relentless Ardudwy attack. However, Porthmadog dropped the majority of their team to defence, frustrating the girls in green and making shots on goal tricky and, despite lots of possession and pressure, Ardudwy were unable to find the back of the net. A goal scoring opportunity emerged towards the end of the first half, as Ardudwy were awarded a short corner following Flick Brown playing the ball into a Portmadog foot. Ela Wyn-Williams injected the ball efficiently, but the Porthmadog defence were out quickly, preventing a strike at goal. However, the girls in green didn’t panic and cleverly recycled the ball around the outside of the D to set up Barwood, who beautifully executed a strike from the right which sailed into the far bottom left hand corner of the Porthmadog net, just above the backboard. Unfortunately, as the girls celebrated, the whistle blew and the goal was disallowed as it was deemed to be a first strike on goal and as such was too high. Disappointed but undeterred, Ardudwy continued to pile on the pressure but, as the half time whistle blew, the score remained locked at 0-0.
The half time talk from coach Nicola Ashcoft praised Ardudwy’s endeavour, but concentrated on how to manoeuvre the ball around the Porthmadog defence to create goal scoring opportunities. Suitably fired-up, the girls returned to the pitch determined to close out the game.
As the whistle blew for the second half however, it was clear that Porthmadog were no longer happy to sit back and defend and they began to venture into the Ardudwy half, making work for Jade Wilcockson, Lwsi Roberts, Ann Goddard and Bethan Jones at the back. Keeper Catrin Parry was also tested by a number of probing long range balls into the D, but showed great awareness and let these roll harmlessly into the back of the goal. Play continued in the same vein throughout the remainder of the second half, with both teams having their fair share of possession and attacking opportunity. The Ardudwy halves including Barwood, Brown and Gwenllian Owen worked hard to back up their defence and provide attacking ball for their forwards, but despite a mammoth team effort, the game ended in a scoreless draw.
Despite the result, the Ardudwy girls remained upbeat as they continue their unbeaten run and maintain their position at the top of the Division 2 table. They now look forward to a break from the league with next week’s cup game against Dysynni at home in Maes Glas.