A CONFIDENT and assured performance from Burton Albion saw them return to winning ways this week with a 3-1 victory away to Coundon Court.
The first chance of the game came in the 14th minute, and really highlighted the impact of manager Joe Kirkland and his coaching staff on the Brewers’ play. A great passing move, involving seven different players resulted in Elisha Gourlay receiving the ball on the edge of Coundon’s penalty area. Her curling effort was pushed away by Counden ‘keeper Megan Donohoe into the path of Farrah Hoyle, who sent the rebound over the bar.
The Brewers opened the scoring a few minutes later. Another excellent passage of passing resulted in a corner. Ciara Fray delivered to the back post to Hajrah Mahmood, and her downward header was turned in by Emily GILLOTT for her first goal of the season.
Following the goal, Coundon started to get into the game and had their first shot of the match in the 23rd minute from a free kick. The effort from Liv Brown easily saved by Olena Tatarczuk.
Just two minutes afterwards Coundon were level. After a challenge near the corner, the ball rolled out towards the corner of the penalty area where Asya OSMAN curled an effort over the head of Tatarczuk and into the goal.
This sparked the Brewers into life, with four efforts in a three-minute period. First, captain Charlotte Jarvis had an ambitious shot from long-range that went wide. The next came from Mahmood, which was saved by Donohoe. Then it was the turn of Millie Drinkhall, after another good passing move, her effort going wide of the post. The fourth effort was the best of the lot. Sharp passing play in the middle of the pitch helped to work the ball to Mahmood on the right-hand side, where she powered past two Coundon players before firing a shot that was palmed away by the increasingly busy Coundon goalkeeper.
The Brewers finally got their deserved second goal in the 38th minute, and it came from another corner. This time Mahmood delivered the ball to the near post where JARVIS met the ball with a powerful header. Donohoe got a hand to the ball but couldn’t do enough to keep it out.
A dominant first half from the Brewers was capped with a third goal. Gourlay picked up a loose ball from a clearance and found Mille DRINKHALL who finished well despite being surrounded by four Coundon defenders.
There was time for one last chance in the half. Gourlay and Drinkhall combined well again, this time finding Katie Jubb, who was making her first start for the Brewers, but her left foot effort was tipped around the post.
HALF-TIME: COUNDON COURT 1-3 BURTON ALBION
The Brewers looked to continue where they had left off in the second half, by dominating possession and looking to add to the scoreline. A period of pressure in the first few minutes of the half saw the ball fall to Beth Naqwi some 25 yards from goal, her dipping effort going just over the bar.
As Coundon pushed more players forward, gaps appeared for the Brewers to exploit, and some great link-up play in the 53rd minute between Farrah Hoyle, Gourlay and Drinkhall resulted in the latter getting a shot away that was smothered by Donohoe.
The next chance also fell the way of the Brewers. Having worked the ball from right to left, Jubb’s cross was controlled well by Drinkhall, but again her effort was well saved.
A rare attack by Coundon in the 58th minute resulted in a corner. A good ball in was met by Coundon captain Hannah Roxburgh; her header drifting agonisingly past the post, much to the relief of the Brewers players.
The 67th minute brought the strangest incident of the match. The referee, having stopped play for an injury, restarted the game with a drop ball. Despite instructing Coundon to return the ball to Tatarczuk in the Brewers goal, the ball was played forwards to Brown who stopped briefly before opting to take on the shot relatively uncontested. The alert Tatarczuk made a smart save, holding on to the ball to alleviate any potential danger.
The Brewers controlled the rest of the game well, restricting Coundon’s opportunities to attack, with any balls into the area dealt with expertly by Tatarczuk and her defence.
There was one final opportunity for the Brewers to add to their tally. A free kick by the impressive Mahmood found its way to the back post, where Caitlin Stewart was unable to direct it on target.
FULL TIME: COUNDON COURT 1-3 BURTON ALBION
After the game, Brewers’ manager Kirkland said:
“We can all be happy with another win and decent performance, I think the biggest thing for us is that we know that we can still go into another gear in terms of the performance levels.
"We’ll be working even harder in every training session and every match to ensure that our standards continue, to keep pushing the boundaries.
"It was also great to see some fantastic individual performances today, Hajrah needs a big mention, she’s a winger playing at full back and was the best player on the pitch today. She wasn’t the only one who played well, we have so many players who are playing with confidence and who are consistently putting in top performances.”
Albion: Tatarczuk, Mahmood (Thomas 54), Richards, Jarvis (c), Fray, Naqwi, Gillott, Gourlay (Oxley 84), Hoyle (Lilley 60), Jubb (Stewart 63), Drinkhall (Mahmood 65)
Goals: Albion – Gillott (20), Jarvis (38), Drinkhall (42), Coundon – Osman (25)