AFC Leyton U12s entertained top of the table West Ham at a cold, damp Salisbury Hall.
The Hammers were unbeaten in the league, having inflicted the only defeat suffered by the U12s this season in the reverse fixture.
So with Leyton out to avenge that result, both sides started the first half at full throttle.
No quarter was being given. With some frantic pressing and crunching tackles going in, there was little room for either team to get their passing game going. This was going to be a battle of wills.
West Ham came closest in the first half, hitting the outside of the Leyton upright, though Ellison in goal had the shot covered.
Leyton had some half chances though and it finished 0-0 at the interval, honours even.
With the crowd urging both sides on the second half started at the same frenetic pace. Gaps were starting to open up though as the players inevitably tired and it was Leyton who were first to capitalise. An attack on the left side of the penalty area drew the West Ham keeper and defenders out of position. The ball found its way to Megan coming in from the right with the goal gaping. Calmness personified, she slotted a beautiful left foot shot home to the delight of the Leyton fans.
In the second half of the game at West Ham, Leyton had found themselves under intense pressure in the second half, finding it difficult to cope with the physical approach of their opponents. This time they were prepared though and giving as good as they got. Elyse in particular was absolutely immense at the heart of the defence, putting in some fantastic tackles and pressing the West Ham forwards into mistakes. Even after going off injured in the first half, she came back on in the second and made numerous potentially game saving tackles.
The Hammers were urged forward by their supporters, this was an unusual position to find themselves in. But it was Leyton who struck again, this time from a corner. The Reds’ forwards caused confusion in the box and the ball ricocheted off a West Ham defender, creeping in at the far post.
There were still fifteen minutes left though, plenty of time for the Hammers to get back into the match. They did just that with a fine strike from Caitlin Duffy.
West Ham sensed victory, hoping that Leyton would capitulate. But the Reds stood firm, actually having the better of the chances in the closing minutes as space opened up with the Hammers pushing forward in search of the equaliser.
The final whistle seemed to take an eternity to come, but there were great scenes when it eventually arrived as the victorious Leyton girls came across to embrace their parents.
Final score, 2-1 to Leyton.
Every player was absolutely fantastic today and they can all be rightly proud of themselves. Well done girls!!!
Congratulations to our coach, Tom as well who did a fantastic job preparing the girls for this match.
Credit to West Ham too who put up a great fight and made it a fantastic game.