Yesterday, Trinity Women’s Soccer took on University College Dublin (UCD) ‘B’ in their second match in the College and Universities Football League (CUFL) Division 1. The biting cold did little to dull the performance on display in Santry as Trinity emerged 6-3 winners in a thrilling contest.
Trinity started the match with ferocious intensity, dominating possession and preventing UCD from gaining any momentum. And it didn’t take long for all the pressure to pay off as Aoife Robinson, fresh from scoring four goals against Tallaght last week, had bagged a brace within 10 minutes. For the first goal, winger Chelsea Rigley put in a delightful ball, which Robinson gleefully tapped into the gaping net. The second was a piece of sensational individual skill by Robinson. After a through ball put her clean through on goal, she rounded the keeper with a deft step-over and passed it into the back of the net, giving Trinity a 2-0 lead.
UCD struggled to get back into the game as Trinity’s solid defence kept them at bay and soon their confident play resulted in another goal. After threatening with a couple of corners, one bobbled around the box before finding the in-form Robinson so smashed it in from close range to claim her second hat-trick in as many games. With only 15 minutes gone, Trinity were now 3-0 up and seemed on track for another comfortable win.
After the hectic opening, the game fell into a bit of a lull. The quick flurry of goals had clearly sapped the UCD team of some energy as they were unable to find any free space on the pitch. Trinity, meanwhile, were happy for UCD to have the ball for a period, confident in their defensive capabilities. However, as the game approached half-time, it sprang back into life. With 10 minutes to go, Ali Flaherty controlled a ball over the top brilliantly before rifling the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards, putting Trinity 4-0 up. UCD then had a chance to get on the scoresheet only to have their long range effort denied by goalkeeper Nicole Hanley. Hanley, at full stretch, touched the goal bound shot onto the post with her fingertips, where it bounced perilously across the face of the goal before Trinity got it clear. The late drama over, the referee signalled for the end of the first half, with Trinity’s lead well and truly intact.
Despite the mountain left to climb, UCD were not going to go away without a fight. They came out of the gates with impressive energy and forced Hanley into two decent saves within the first couple minutes. Now it was Trinity who struggled to hold onto the ball as UCD’s pressure was relentless. After nearly 10 minutes, they got their reward. Nobody was able to clear a low cross into the box, leaving the goal open for an easy tap in. But their resurgence was cut short as Trinity got a goal back; a stellar strike from the corner of the 18 yard box across goal into the corner, past the flailing goalkeeper. With about half an hour to go, Trinity were leading 5-1.
UCD did have a spell of excellent play shortly after that, namely through substitute Eimear Smyth. The striker posed the tiring Trinity defence all kinds of problems with her pace and close control. Exposing some potentially tired in the Trinity back line, she breezed through and slotted home with ease, narrowing the gap to 5-2. And the home side were lucky not to concede another one soon after when UCD struck the post for the second time in the match. But it didn’t take long for Smyth to double her tally when a ball that bounced around the box, fell to her to put away. UCD’s comeback, which had looked highly unlikely, now was certainly a possibility with a 5-3 scoreline and 70 minutes on the clock.
The last period of the match was frantic with both teams having decent opportunities at goal. But it was Trinity who put the game beyond any doubt in the end when midfielder, Amelie Spliesgart, stood up a defender, took the ball around them and curled it into the side netting with the last kick of the match. When the final whistle blew, Trinity came out on top 6-3.
Speaking to Trinity News after the match, Trinity Women’s Soccer coach, Andy Rochford, was impressed with the performance from the team. “The team started really really well, moving the ball quickly and catching UCD out on the quick counter attack early on,” said Rochford. “We took our chances well in the first half. With a new squad this year, we’re still trying to gel and get used to playing with each other.” Team captain Frannie Smith was also delighted with the way her teammates played, especially after their previous victory. “It was great to get another high-scoring game, since goals are essential in the group stages,” commented Smith after the match. “There was great communication between all the girls and good energy for the first cold game of the year.”
Up next for Trinity Women’s Soccer is a clash with Maynooth B which takes place next week at home.