Symes at the double as champs get off the mark

INDIES welcomed back some of their big guns on Saturday and they brought the necessary firepower for the champions to register their first win of the season.

Indies Ladies discuss what short-corner routine they are going to use while the rain lashes down. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 28865733)
Indies Ladies discuss what short-corner routine they are going to use while the rain lashes down. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 28865733)

Island forward Tasha Symes struck twice to add to Emily Griggs’ opening goal in a 3-1 win over Cubs, who deserved more than Sophie Warren’s late consolation having played their full part in a hard-fought contest during which the players had to battle the elements almost as much as the opposition.

In such circumstances, though, being able to call on the likes of the two Symes sisters and fellow Guernsey regular Liz Dudin turns Indies into quite a formidable outfit and one which will surely start rising up the table.

Youngster Griggs is from a similar mould to the more established players in the Indies ranks with plenty of ability and a competitive edge to her, too, and she nearly combined with Tasha Symes to break the deadlock in the eighth minute, but Cubs goalkeeper Collette Falla did well to clear her lines while under pressure.

However, Falla was unable to stop Griggs scoring from her next opportunity approaching the quarter-hour mark.

The chance arose after Lauren Ewins did well to keep the ball alive down the right and Natalie Finlayson then drove the ball towards goal with Griggs on hand to sweep it home from just a few yards out.

Cubs nearly came up with an immediate response as Elyse Dandeker teed up Kath Guille, but Helena Duguid was equal to the shot.

In general, the first half was very competitive with both teams putting together decent periods of play, but the added experience of their island players going forward gave Indies a cutting edge that produced more chances.

Bianca Symes, being utilised in a midfield role that saw her popping up everywhere, always posed a threat when driving forward with typical tenacity and one forceful run created an opportunity for Ewins, who, if anything, caught her shot too well as she tried to help on Symes’ pass and pulled it just wide.

At the other end, Duguid batted away Kira Totty’s attempt at a short-corner, but with six minutes remaining in the half Indies doubled their lead.

Again both Finlayson and Ewins were involved in good build-up play down the right and this time it was the latter who provided the assist, squaring the ball to Tasha Symes to score from close range.

Moments later Symes came close to returning the favour, but her final ball searching for Ewins’ run was just too strong after an excellent back-to-front move from Indies started by Debbie Hunter from her own D.

The rain had stayed away throughout the first half and also during the interval, but as the teams re-emerged for the second half it started to lash down and the wind increased too, making for miserable conditions.

Indies barely noticed, though, and within two minutes they were three ahead.

This time the goal came via a short-corner, which had been earned by Griggs, and Tasha Symes made no mistake as her low drive found the bottom corner.

She came close to completing a hat-trick a few moments later, but was just wide with her shot after Ewins showed great unselfishness in squaring the ball to her teammate rather than shooting herself having been released by Griggs.

However, Cubs were not letting their heads drop and from successive short-corners Martha Nuttall was just wide with her shot and Duguid saved well from Warren’s firm drive.

Then, mid-way through the half, some good defending from Indies saw them manage to clear their lines while various Cubs players lined up to score after Totty’s incisive run down the left.

Duguid was called into making another save by Mia Lloyd-Jones after Dandeker had played the ball into the D and on 62min. the Indies keeper denied Hattie Clayton twice and Totty all in quick succession as Cubs pressed hard.

Time was against them, though, and there were just a few seconds left on the clock when they finally got the goal they deserved, which came just after Bianca Symes departed the action having suffered a cut to her head when helping out in defence.

During that same incident, Cubs were awarded another short and, after Symes had been assisted back to the clubhouse, Warren gave Duguid no chance with her precise shot.

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