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Match Report: Aztecs 3 v 3 Bedford

2nd May 2022: All square in Loughborough between Southern foes competing for Tier One Status

Lauren Sayler, Amy Maidment, and Divina Alo Ilolo out long term, while Laura Ingram struggles for fitness, the Aztecs handed debuts to EJ May, and emergency goalkeeper signing Elizabeth Stanley.

Naturally, the game was a cagey affair, with neither team wanting to go behind in what could be a do or die game. The Aztecs' plan, with their seven (including two debutants) against the twelve of Bedford, was to sit deep, defend resolutely, and then create chances on the break.

Bedford had the ball in the net first, but the goal was ruled out when the officials judged the ball to have struck Amy Magnus on the arm.

It wasn't long until Bedford had the ball in the net again, with it counting this time. EJ May losing the ball on her return pass to Moody, allowing Magnus to stride forward uncontested and slip the ball past Stanley.

In the second half, to put the teams level at 1-1, Rebekah Tonks stole the ball in the Aztecs half. Her and Nicola Curtis kept hassling for the loose ball, and sent Bedford back into their own half. Bekah was able to poke the ball away, break free, and play square for Kayleigh Tonks to place a neat right-footed finish beyond the keeper from close range.

To go 2-1 ahead, the Aztecs scored what is a clear goal of the season contender. Kayleigh Tonks started the move with a kick-in near the Southampton left corner. Moody dropped into the goal to receive, with Stanley now located on the right wing. Moody played the ball over to Stanley, who switched it back to K. Tonks. Tonks played a round the corner one-two with Heath, setting her free down the left wing, and putting her through on goal for her token right-footed toe poke beyond the keeper.

Kayleigh Tonks started the third Aztecs goal, putting Southampton 3-1 up with ten minutes remaining. She stole the ball on the Aztecs D, and poked it to Rebekah. Bekah laid it off to Kayleigh, who performed an underlap, and carried the ball from her own half, down the left wing, and poked it over the shoulder of the oncoming keeper.

Bedford came back into the game, making it 3-2. Excellent rotations got the ball out wide on the right for Hudson, who played it across for Cudone to finish. In our efforts to film the game, we missed Bedford's third, and equalising goal. This is why we appreciate the TV crews so much!

The Aztecs, in search of a fourth, did have an opportunity denied when an opponent took a shot to the face, and the referees stepped in.

Watch the Aztecs goals here.

So what does this mean for us? It's not too complicated. We'll do our best to break it down. First, we'd like to congratulate Cheshire on their promotion. Their 8-7 win over University of Liverpool means that they have secured their place in tier one, and that group now goes down to the wire, with a winner takes all game between Liverpool and Bloomsbury. The loser is relegated to tier two, but a point will be enough for Bloomsbury to remain in tier one.

This is how Group A stands.

And here are we, in Group B.

Due to our draw with Bedford, it means that Worcester are secure, and will remain in tier one. Congratulations to them. For us, it's fairly simple; win or draw with Worcester, and we stay in tier one. However, if we lose to Worcester, we have to better the result that Bedford obtained against them, which was a 4-1 win to Worcester. If the Aztecs are level on points with Bedford, it will come down to goal difference, and if needed, goals scored. If we lose 4-1 to Worcester, our record will be equal to Bedford's, and we will then have to play them again in a one-off, do or die playoff game.

Simple, right? Maybe the graphic below can help. The Aztecs goals are in green down the left, and the Worcester scores are in blue across the top. If we achieve a result which is light green, we avoid relegation and stay in tier one. If we achieve a result in red, it is Bedford who gain tier one status.

Vamos Aztecs!

This performance was another solid effort from a solid group. Depleted, carrying knocks, and handing out two debuts, these were not the most ideal of circumstances to play such an important game. However, the fight of the individuals, and the togetherness of the team carried us through, and it will be with us again next week.

If you want our official Adidas kit, get yourself over to KitLocker.

If you would like other Aztecs merchandise, go to Spreadshirt.

Our next game is at Derby University on Saturday the 21st of May, for a 13:45 kick off versus Worcester. It all comes down to this. Let's do it!

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