We faced Nottingham Lions on Saturday in the GFSN D4 Shield Final at Crystal Palace’s National Sports Centre and each and every TRUK player can hold their heads up high after a battling performance against the Lions who currently sit 2nd in the GFSN Div 1 and were our biggest test to date.

Whilst looking grand it has to be said that the National Sports Centre is a shambles and has been left to rot and as a club we were embarrassed by the state of the changing rooms and more importantly the pitch which had been mowed just before we got there and had big clumps of cut grass and also patches that they had missed. This made it hard for good football and both teams had to resort to long balls to try and get the ball up the pitch as it was impossible to play out from the back which goes against the way we like to play.

Lions kicked off the match at 3.15 as they had been delayed on their journey down and had the first big chance when a great run and cross was met by an excellent diving header which Fluff saved well, we went straight down the other end and only a last ditch tackle prevented Nicky Currall from putting us 1-0 up. Currall then put a free header from 8 yards out and Washington and Summers both went close for TRUK as we looked to break the deadlock. At the other end Lions had a really good chance when the worked the ball well to the forward who shot tamely at Fluff when they should have done better. A great run from Currall ended with a shot which the keeper saved well at the near post and from the resulting corner Quin shot just wide. Currall had another effort this time from long range well saved whilst at the other end another good Lions move saw Fluff save well as they worked the ball into the 6 yard box. Half time came and it was 0-0 which was the right result as neither team did enough to be ahead nor deserved to be behind.

Copsey had the first chance of the 2nd half but poked the ball past the keeper with a bit too much pace and it ran out for a goal kick but then a few minutes later TRUK were in dreamland….a brilliant run by Currall saw him sent flying whilst inside the penalty area and the referee had no option but to point to the spot. Currall dusted himself off to take the kick and smashed it straight at the keeper who kicked it away for what was his first ever penalty save and TRUK were denied a golden opportunity to take the lead. Currall who was instrumental in our attacks then broke free on the left and his cross was well cleared as Butler waited to tap the ball into the net….

It was then disaster for TRUK…the Lions winger broke free on the left hand side and put over a brilliant cross….the forward headed it towards goal from the penalty spot and the ball looped towards goal…Fluff who has been excellent for us somehow misjudged it and the ball slipped through his hand and legs and rolled into the net and it was 1-0 to the Lions! Lions then looked to double their advantage with the left winger putting in a couple more great crosses with Fluff saving well from one when the forward should have scored and the other the Lions players dragged his shot wide. With 60 minutes on the clock TRUK grabbed a deserved equaliser….Copsey flicked the ball over the back line to Currall who timed his run brilliantly and flicked it past the keeper 1-1 and game on…..

It was TRUK who came closest to a winner in the final stages as Katja had an effort from 6 yards well saved by Lions Keeper who was arguably player of the match as he again denied Currall when he pushed his shot from 6 yards against the post and then followed this up with an even better save as Currall stormed in on goal and shot from 6 yards out which the keeper somehow managed to deflect wide for a corner. At the other end Lions got themselves into some good positions but failed to trouble Fluff in the TRUK goal.

After 90 minutes the referee blew the full time whistle and we went to penalties.

With 6 excellent penalties taken it was 3-3 as Clark stepped up… her penalty was weak and straight at the keeper who then saved only his 2nd penalty….the final 3 were all converted meaning Lions won 5-4 a result that was harsh on TRUK but we can take great credit for taking such an established side the distance.

TRUK: Michael “Fluff” Freeman, Orlagh O;Driscoll, Abi Cornell, Paul “Ballack” Deeks, Quin Johnson, Poppy Gale, Matt Bacon, Oskia Summers, Natalie Washington, Nicky Currall, Mia Wallace Subs Used: Katja Saskia, Lucy Copsey, Amy Butler, Lucy Clark, Rhys Davis Unused: Jessica Perry, Topia