27th November 2021: The Aztecs send a message to the league with this incredible comeback performance.
The Aztecs took eight to Bedford with Divina Alo Ilolo dropping out from last week.
A nightmare start for the Aztecs, giving Bloomsbury not one, but two early Christmas presents. And we mean early. These goals were timed at 30 and 45 seconds played. Could you imagine the uphill battle to go two goals down early on against a top side? Fortunately, the Aztecs have resilience in abundance, and worked hard to claw their way back.
Bloomsbury's first goal came from a kick-in that was turned over to the team in gold due to a fault with the restart. They passed inside and made a good triangle with their keeper, before playing a diagonal ball to their number 16, who turned, cut inside, and was rewarded with her speculative shot from distance. Not the start we were looking for. It then had to get worse before getting better. Bloomsbury pressed the Aztecs from the kick-off and forced a turnover from a ball forward from Sayler. Bloomsbury won the knock down, poked a quick pass through out wide, and finished from close range to go 2-0 up.
Should you lose faith when you've got talented, hard working players, with a track record for coming back from losing positions? Shame on you if you did. Southampton nearly replied quickly with Sayler coming wide to play a diagonal to Senter at the far post, which was a sign of things to come. The Aztecs kept using Sayler in the build up to create chances, and knew that the way Bloomsbury would press would make them susceptible to diagonals to the far post. Although there was another scare before the greens would get their first goal. Bloomsbury worked the ball wide left, and squeezed a low cross through the compact Aztecs defence, which fortunately was not read by the Bloomsbury player free at the far post. It would be from the resulting kick-in that Southampton would show how good futsal can be.
Rebecca Moody went to the side to take it, with Kaylee Senter dropping into the goal, and Lauren Sayler playing wide. Rebekah and Kayleigh Tonks would stay high, to be the outlets, while Southampton's three at the back baited the press. Moody played short to Senter, who took a touch, looked up, and clipped a line-breaking pass to Kayleigh Tonks. Lauren Sayler had crossed the halfway line with her third man run, received the ball from K. Tonks, and then sent the ball across goal for Rebekah Tonks to finish. 2-1. Game on.
Aztecs then scored two in quick succession, to no be ahead inside the first five minutes 3-2. The Southampton second goal came from another Rebecca Moody kick-in, who fired the ball across from the right wing to the left wing for Kayleigh Tonks, whose shot was parried. Fortunately Kaylee Senter pounced first to level the game. Within thirty seconds, the scoreline shifted in favour of the greens when Bloomsbury were caught in possession by the low block defence, allowing Kayleigh Tonks to steal the ball, who expertly tucked it into the corner beyond the onrushing goalkeeper.
The game ebbed and flowed. It became a tactical game of cat and mouse with both teams trying to adapt to overcome the other. There were fifteen minutes without a goal, Kayleigh Tonks scored again, in a similar manner to the previous goal, stealing the ball in a low block, and shooting from distance into the unguarded net. 4-2 Aztecs at halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, and it was Bloomsbury who scored first. The ball was stolen from a Southampton kick-in, with the team in gold taking advantage of Sayler being out of her net as she was being used in the routine. These are calculated risks. You know the danger associated with playing with your keeper high, and when you have a keeper that is as effective as ours, what she provides in the game makes it a risk worth taking.
With thirteen minutes remaining and the score 4-3, there was plenty of time left for either team to get ahead and take the three points. Southampton reopened the two goal margin, when the Tonks sisters pressed together. Rebekah intercepted the pass, slid the ball across to her sister, and Kayleigh finished from close range for her hat-trick. Southampton's sixth goal, and Kayleigh Tonks' fourth came from Rebecca Moody stealing the ball, driving forward, supplying the ball to Kayleigh Tonks, who beat the defender and struck the ball into the net off the near post. 6-3.
Kayleigh Tonks clearly had enough goals at this point and decided to turn into the assister. From a kick-in high on the left side, she played a short one-two with Rebecca Moody, and then played a disguised cross to the back post for Kath Heath to sneak in on the blindside and finish one touch.
7-3 and now inside the last minute, the Aztecs weren't done. Nicola Curtis pressed well, and won the ball, for Rebekah Tonks to dribble forward, evading two defenders, and toe-poking home at the near post. Clearly jealous of her sister's goal tally, Rebekah Tonks found the net again, with a buzzer beater. The ball went out for an Aztecs throw, and the intelligent Lauren Sayler looked up to find Rebekah Tonks had gotten in behind the deepest Bloomsbury player. Sayler threw the ball forward, evading the defender's attempts to cut out the pass. R. Tonks first made contact with the ball with only 3.5 seconds remaining. In that time, she brought the ball down, turned, and nutmegged the keeper with the last kick of the game to make it 9-3. This was a direct parallel to the previous game against Genesis, in which the Aztecs' final goal of the game was also a nutmeg against the keeper, but that one was from the other Tonks.
Maybe 2-0 is the most dangerous lead. Below is the full match for your viewing pleasure.
Lauren Sayler was voted as player of the match. Check out her two assists, and the rest of the highlights below.
The scores from the day of games.
It's the final game of the season next week. The Aztecs travel to Bedford to face Reading Royals on the 4th of December for a 12:00 kick off. If other results go in Southampton's favour, there could be fourth, or even third place achieved.
How do you think the league will finish? These are the final games of 2021:
10:00 Coventry v London Genesis
12:00 Southampton Aztecs v Reading Royals
14:-00 Bedford v London Helvecia
16:00 Birmingham WLV v Bloomsbury
The Aztecs have been using Tactic Lite software to cut up and animate clips. Below are two of our best team goals from recent weeks.