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California Daily Diary: Double delight ahead of USA game

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GAMEDAY 4 vs Japan development team and Fresno State 

In our first international game of the tour, England took on Japan in what was set to be an exciting and fast paced match. 

Some great man on man defence resulted in an excellent turnover, which saw defender Emma Oakley blaze the ball through the midfield and into attack where she gave a textbook feed to midfielder Claire Faram who slammed the ball top corner for the first goal of the game. This impressive team performance set the tone for the first quarter which ended England 6 Japan 0.

England started the second quarter equally as strong, dominating the draw controls against a strong Japanese midfield. Although Japan’s attack came back against England’s defence scoring two quick goals, we took control of the quarter with some excellent partnerships.

Notably Torz Anderson and Alex Drewe, where Anderson successfully managed to save the ball going off the sideline with a dramatic dive and flick to Alex Drewe. A give and go between Drewe and Anderson resulted in an impressive top right screamer from Drewe. Torz continued to punish the Japanese defence with a classic inside roll dodge, which brought the score to 8-2 at half time.

We started the third quarter in zone defence, during which Chloe Chan heroically saved a shot by putting her body on the line. This gave the attack a chance to execute their man up play which successfully resulted in a goal, much to Coach Phil’s excitement. 

This momentum was carried forward as England extended their lead to 11-2 at the end of the quarter.

The fourth quarter saw some of our young England stars come to the fore. Tilly foster won some fantastic draw controls and Tilly Shires worked the Japanese defence to get herself a free position which she nailed with a fantastic bounce shot into the top left corner.

The defence held out the Japanese attack with some great 1v1 and some fantastic hits from Ellie Hillier, who I’m sure has learnt the ability to crush the opposition from her sister.

England finished the game off strong with a 13-5 win.

We then had a long break between the Japan game and the game against Fresno State.

The team spent their time visiting the Stanford store for gifts, and recruiting fans (shoutout to Liv Wimpenny for making a 10 year old’s day by chatting to her). After some napping, eating and a bit of scouting the opposition the team got ready for their next game versus Fresno State.

After a close game with Japan prior to playing us, Fresno State came out fighting and with nothing to lose.

The first quarter saw many changes in possession with both teams playing at a similar standard. This was reflected in the score line at the end of the quarter, 3-3.

The second quarter was also very close, however England just managed to edge ahead, leading 5-4 going into the third, and unexpectedly last quarter.

After conceding 2 goals and going behind, a well-needed time out was called by coach Phil. A quick motivational speech was well received and England came out determined, winning the majority of the remaining 50/50 balls.

This increase in possession helped us increase our goal count. Two goals in quick succession from Ela Hazar, sandwiched by goals from Olivia Hompe gave us a 9-6 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Before the start of the fourth quarter, the floodlights were prematurely switched off, and a significant delay in turning them back on resulted in both teams reluctantly agreeing to call the match. 

A quick stop off at Chipotle for dinner and briefly witnessing some ABBA karaoke in the lobby raised our spirits and we went to bed feeling excited for the games vs the USA.

England now take on USA tonight (Saturday) at 8PM and USA U19s at 10.30PM both free to watch on Lax Sports Network