HEAD: My Greatest Game
Slough Town Ladies vs Hawley Ladies, 2021
By Alicia Povery
There’s always going to be something special about making a debut with a new club, but perhaps there’s something even more special about making that debut following an extended hiatus due to a global pandemic.
With steps 3-6 of the women’s football pyramid curtailed by the FA and my “main” club Wycombe Wanderers Women not beginning training until pre-season due to injuries, I was desperate to get out on the pitch. Enter Slough Town Ladies, another local team playing at step 7 and therefore continuing their competitive league season. Following one training session with the squad, we had our first league match of the interrupted season against Hawley Ladies at home.
I was nervous. I always am, but it’s a big deal to step onto the pitch with a new bunch of women and you never expect it to click straight away. I’d worked hard on my fitness during lockdown, too, and this was the first time I’d really got to put it to the test in a match situation. Would it make a difference? The short answer is yes. And I needn’t have been nervous.
I was put out on the right-hand side of a three up top – a position I am well-accustomed to playing with Wycombe – and I was ready to run myself into the ground out there to secure the perfect debut. It didn’t take long for us to break down their defence either; a miscued ball found the feet of centre-forward Abi Canvin, who threaded me through one-on-one, allowing me to slot home in the bottom left. My first goal for the club.
I went on to score my second in a similar fashion before I scored my third, winning the ball from a goal kick and lobbing the keeper (receiving a knee in the thigh and a gigantic bruise courtesy of the on-rushing Number 1 as well). After bagging three in the first half and missing an open goal (whoops!), I added another two to the tally in the second, bringing my total to five for the game.
I had been so nervous to even step out on a football pitch. What if I had forgotten how to kick a ball? What if all the fitness work I had done made no difference? What if I was horribly ill-matched with my new teammates?
It wasn’t my greatest game because of all the goals – although, of course, that’s a bonus – but to get back out on the pitch with a great bunch of women, find my feet again and feel confidence flood back into my game was the special thing.
A debut, five goals and my greatest game.