Last Thursday night at DCVI, the Forman Electric Chargers walked off the field frustrated they didn’t come away with a better LAWSL result.
In a clash of the two Third Division champions from last season, Chargers hoped to extend their franchise-best 14-game undefeated streak dating back to week 4 of last summer. However, it wasn’t in the cards as two quick goals from Lambeth handed St. Marys its first taste of defeat (3-2) in a long time.
The game started wonderfully for Chargers as midfielder Cassidy O’Hearn crossed a ball into the middle of the 18-yard box where striker Kirstin De Jong slotted home her first of the campaign right underneath the Lambeth keeper in the ninth minute.
With the wind at their backs, Chargers continued to press, with Lauren Aarts, Katelyn Bender, Laura Van De Walle, Romy Scheele and Lara Middleton controlling the middle of the pitch, sending long balls for the speedy trio De Jong, Madeline Aarts and Kate DeWeerd to chase down behind the defensive line.
On a quick counter-attack, a Lambeth midfielder sent a ball over top the defensive line of Michelle Anderson, Megan Fennema, Alanah Delaney and Becca Nagle and a visitors’ striker powered home the equalizer past a helpless Kristen Schmidt in net.
The St. Marys women weren’t deterred, however, as they continued pressing the opposition using the wind to their advantage. After a long ball was sent to the corner, Katelyn Bender fought off two Lambeth defenders before clearing the ball straight to O’Hearn, who turned and fired a rocket past the diving keeper to give Chargers the lead once again. It was O’Hearn’s third goal in the first two games.
The Forman squad kept putting pressure against the opposition’s defence, but they weren’t able to penetrate their opponents. As the half-time whistle blew, Chargers were encouraged by their result, however, they knew that they had the wind against them in the second half, making the next goal the most important.
As the second half started, Chargers seemed to lose a step as Lambeth came out with a vengeance and within the first three minutes, they had taken the lead with two quick goals.
Shocked and frustrated with what had just transpired, the home side knew they would have to mount a comeback like the previous week to take home the three points.
Attack after attack, Chargers fell upon the Lambeth defence, but they were consistently turned away or the shots that were generated, narrowly missed the mark. The home side became frustrated after a number of missed calls from the referee, who did not call a single hand-ball all night, forcing the girls to work all the harder against both Lambeth and the official.
“We were the better team tonight, but the calls didn’t go our way, and we know that we belong in this league” commented St. Marys coach Aaron Wybrow.
“I’m so proud of the girls’ character and tenacity in the second half after those two quick goals. They didn’t get down on themselves, nor did they blame each other. They put it behind them, and they fought back.
“That is what makes this team dangerous. That is what will make us challenge for the title this year. Last season, we won the first two games, then lost a nail-biter to West End, and look what we did -- we went undefeated the rest of the season.”
In the closing minutes, Chargers were able to create two corner kicks and Lambeth narrowly escaped with the victory over an exhausted home side, who left everything on the field.
The Forman Chargers play on Monday, May 25 in Exeter against a South Huron squad they last faced in the 2013 season when South Huron went on to win the division title.
Fans are encouraged to come cheer on the women as they look to return to their winning ways.