Ten-year-old Esme who plays for Bure Valley, one of our partner clubs, was in the crowd at Carrow Road to watch the Lionesses. She reports for Impetus.
England 0–0 Spain
Above: Some of the Bure Valley youngsters gather outside Carrow Road ahead of England’s game with Spain in the Arnold Clark Cup on Sunday.
Super substitute Lauren Hemp was millimetres away from giving England a narrow win in the Arnold Clark Cup, after she hit the post with a goal-worthy shot seconds after coming off the bench.
But sadly, Spain clearly had their head in the game, and England were grateful to goalie Hannah Hampton, who was making her debut and pulled off super saves, and helped out the team considerably. Without her, Spain would’ve scored several times!
As the torrential rain poured and a gale-force wind blew, England began the match positively, despite the horrible conditions, with Jill Scott breaking from midfield to shoot from the edge of the area, but it looped just wide of the goal.
After a number of very close England attacks early in the first half, a long ball from Spain caused confusion amongst the England defence, and the ball broke free to a Spanish striker, who shot an ambitious long-range ball, which luckily, went wide.
Spain began to dominate possession with neat short passing, and a sly move saw the menacing No 17 García Córdoba play a one-two before her shot was blocked for a corner.
Dangerwoman Córdoba cut in from the left and spun a shot with her right foot, but it was straight into the gloves of trusty Hampton.
The Manchester City winger Lauren Hemp, who was born and brought up in North Walsham, Norfolk, (and trained by my teacher’s boyfriend) was an instant hit with the excited Norfolk crowd, and almost immediately she slipped clear and hit the post with a lightning low shot.
Spain responded swiftly, and after a free-kick, the ball flew to Ivana Andres whose quick shot was blocked by her own player – their creative no 10 Hermoso Fuentes!
England attacked again, and Ellen White ran clear of the Spanish defence, but she wasn’t nimble enough, and her shot was blocked.
For England, Nobbs broke down the right and her powerful shot flashed narrowly past the Spanish keeper’s far post.
As gloom descended on Carrow Road, the crowd of 14,284 began to amuse themselves by shining torches on their phones, and waving at others, in the overcast evening. Then a group of thrilled supporters started up a “Mexican wave” which rippled around the ground two times, before coming to an abrupt stop.
England made substitutions to liven up their midfield, with Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson coming on for Scott and Nobbs. This was clearly a good move by manager Sarina Wiegman, as this sparked two good attacks. First, a well-executed pass from Walsh found fellow sub-Ella Toone who directed it to Lucy Bronze, who cut inside, but was tackled fiercely before she could shoot.
With the clock slowly making its way towards 90 minutes, Hemp, who had switched from left to right-wing, beat a player and went on a swift run, and Lucy Bronze later whipped in another dangerous cross, but there was no goal for poor England!
In the final minutes, Spain put England under some pressure. Then in the final seconds of the breath-taking game, Spain’s influential No 8, Mariona Caldentey, shot a banger, and Hampton had to extend her arms to full length to gather it at the second attempt.
This was a very interesting game with lots of twists and turns, some rapid shots, and a few yellow cards. It was an amazing atmosphere, with songs all the way, and a new thing: the phone wave. Lots of girls were there, waving England flags, shouting: “come on England!” repeatedly.
Lots of girls’ teams were there, bringing everything together. Lots of people had yellow ‘Arnold Clark’ sunglasses, and some were waving them up and down, some wearing them, and some propping them up on their heads. I would love to come back and watch England play, and hope, one day, that I will get to play in the England team! And please, if England are playing near you, come and watch, they are a team to look for!
Teams: ENGLAND (4-3-3): Hampton, Bronze, Carter, Greenwood, Daly, Nobbs, Scott, Stanway, Parris, White, Mead.
SPAIN (4-3-3): Rodriguez, Garcia Gomez, Andres, Leon, Batlle, Bonmati, Guijarro, Putellas, Cardona, Hermosa, Garcia Cordoba.
Referee: Iuliana Demetrescu (ROM).