TRUK United travelled to Dulwich Hamlet FC on a cold but historic evening in SE London.
Never before had a team consisting of solely Transgender women taken the field for a football match until March 31st 2022 which also happened to be Transgender Day of Visibility. Despite the snow falling just before kick off a healthy crowd of 410 were present to see history being made as the teams entered the arena to loud applause and cheers.
With many of the TRUK United FC players having only met an hour before kick off it was no surprise that Dulwich started the brighter and following several early chances Manzi broke the deadlock after just 6 minutes when she smashed the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards giving Blair Hamlton no chance. Within a couple of minutes it was 2-0 as a mix up in the TRUK defence saw the ball fall to Manzi who passed to Hjelmsbo who tapped into the empty net. Minutes later it was 3 nil as Pelligrin skipped past Paula Griffin and slotted past Hamilton 3-0 and game over with barely 15 minutes on the clock!
Despite the set back TRUK continued to give it there all and Hamilton made a couple of fantastic saves and TRUK even managed a shot on target as Saskia found herself with the ball at her feet 20 yds out but her shot was well saved. 25 minutes in and it was 4 nil…Clark made a great block from Manzi’s effort but the ball fell to Perrigrin who smashed it home despite the best efforts of Cornell, Griffin and Hamilton. A rare TRUK attack saw Sammy Walker slide the ball through for Julia to chase but Smith in the Dulwich goal came out to collect the ball denying TRUK a chance to get back into the game and this also saw the end of Walker as she could not continue as a pre existing injury became to much for her and she hobbled off which was a massive blow to TRUK. Hamilton made a great point blank save from and Hjelmsbo header but could do nothing when Pelligrin found herself clean through to make it 5. Straight from the kick off it was 6 as Clark who was just trying to get herself subbed found the ball at her feet which she then lost and Manzi ran through and finished with aplomb. Half time was just around the corner and TRUK left the field with the scoreline 6-0!
HALF TIME Dulwich Hamlet 6 TRUK United 0
Following a team talk which included an inspiration speech from Peter Crouch TRUK returned to the pitch hoping to put on a better 2nd half performance and this they certainly managed despite making constant changes to the 11 on the pitch. Muschette made it 7 early on but then for the next 40 minutes TRUK battled like Trojans to make sure they did not concede anymore goals. Player of the match Blair Hamilton made a series of excellent saves earning the plaudits of everyone in the ground and when she was beaten Clark was on hand to clear the ball of the line followed by an excellent block from Alison Cooke. Amy Butler managed to get herself into the box following great work from Hayley Farmer and Orlagh O’Driscoll but some great defending from Dulwich meant TRUK were not going to get the consolation goal the noisy crowd desperately wanted.
With 90 minutes on the clock referee Elle blew the full time whistle and both teams left the field to applause and cheers on what was a memorable evening.
The game will not be remembered for the score line it will be remembered for a night of Diversity and Inclusion and a night where everyone invloved showed that football is for everyone.
TRUK United FC
1 Blair Hamilton 6 Alison Cooke 3 Abi Cornell 46 Mia Wallace 21 Paula Griffin 42 Mandy Walker 7 Sammy Walker 8 Alex 11 Natalie Washington 10 Lucy Clark 18 Katja Saskia
Subs 77 Lucy Gladding 29 Stacey Carabine 73 Hayley Farmer 19 Amy Butler 14 Juliet Jaques 16 Julia 15 Orlagh O’Driscoll 2 Tammy
Thank you to Liam Ashman for the fantastic photos.