With winter in the air and conditions rather crisp, on Saturday November 21st Ardudwy ac Arfon gathered at Canolfan Brailsford (Maes Glas) to play their League Cup quarter final match against Dysynni. Having never beaten Dysynni in the history of the club, the girls in green definitely started the match as underdogs, but showing the grit and determination that has come to characterise this team, the girls pushed hard from the off and gave their opponents a tough game.
From the outset Dysynni were on the attack, playing a formation that left only two defenders in their own half and allowing the rest of the team to put pressure on the Ardudwy D. However, as Hume picked up the ball in defence and passed to Smith in midfield who released a beautifully timed pass to Flick Brown who had made a looping run from midfield onto the left wing, she returned the ball for Smith to strike home, but the keeper made a cracking save leaving the ball loose for Smith & Davies to fight for, which Smith slotted in making it 1-0.
This first goal galvanised the girls in green and they quickly added a second when the Ardudwy defence was able to release the ball to Gwenno Davies, the girls were on the break and some unselfish passing between Davies and Jaqueline Smith resulted in Anna Hume finding herself in the D opposed only by the Dysynni keeper. A beautifully swept ball from Hume hit the backboard and Ardudwy found themselves 2-0 to the good.
Cheers rang out around the pitch as the girls celebrated and a new found sense of belief gripped players and spectators alike. Dysynni continued to push forward, probing the Ardudwy defence and trying to create a scoring opportunity, however their efforts were thwarted by the well organised defence of Ann Goddard, Jade Wilcockson and Lwsi Roberts. A clutch of top quality saves from keeper Catrin Parry frustrated Dysynni and ensured that Ardudwy maintained their lead. Just before half time, Ardudwy were on the break again, with Smith slotting home an impressive reverse flick from a seemingly impossible angle to bring the score to 3-0 at half time.
Manager Nicola Ashcroft was full of praise for the girls at half time, but warned that they must keep their heads as Dysynni were sure to come out fighting, and this is exactly what they did. Ardudwy were constantly under pressure in the second half and this pressure told, with Dysynni scoring two goals to bring the score to a nail-biting 3-2. Despite exhausted legs, the Ardudwy halves of Kelly Redmayne and Clare Barwood continued to work hard to support their defence and keep the relentless Dysynni attack at bay. Barwood’s highly successful block tackles shut down much of the Dysynni attack, while more committed defending from Wilcockson and Roberts further frustrated the girls in orange.
As the clock counted down the remaining minutes, Dysynni half Jo Redman took a powerful strike from the top of the D which found the back board, however the umpire’s whistle had already blown to signal a short corner and the goal was disallowed. The Ardudwy support breathed a sigh of relief and a few minutes later the final whistle blew, signalling a historic victory for the green army. The girls now progress to the semi-finals to be played on February 6th against as yet unnamed opponents.