Updated: Nov 10, 2021
6th November 2021: A back and forth goalfest goes the wrong way for the Aztecs.
This was the team that took the court in Bedford. Divina Alo Ilolo back from injury, Hannah Humphreys out for several weeks due to an injury in training, and a first start in the league for Belinda Villa Rodriguez.
A back and forth game full of goals. Exciting for the neutral and a good advert for the league. The Aztecs were hoping to squeeze the three points in the crowded cars on the drive back down south along the M1, M25, and M3, but it wasn't to be.
The hosts scored first, completing a good move from a kick-in. Minutes later, the score was levelled. Bedford on the attack, committed too many players forward, allowing for Rebecca Moody to pick up the ball from a blocked shot, slotting in Kayleigh Tonks on the counter who neatly poked home. Six minutes before the half, Bedford regained the lead, going 2-1 after catching the Aztecs in possession.
The second half started, and Bedford extended their lead, making it 3-1 in very similar fashion to their second goal, again catching the Aztecs in possession from a kick-in. Then began the Aztecs' second comeback, making it 3-2. Divina Alo Ilolo made a forward pass from a kick-in, getting the ball to Rebecca Moody, who was able to squeeze it through to Kayleigh Tonks, who this time finished with her left foot. The equaliser came from Aztecs pressure, with Divina Alo Ilolo stealing the ball, giving it to Bekah Tonks, who fed the ball to Nicola Curtis out wide on the overlap. Curtis' cross was intended for Alo Ilolo at the far post, but was put into the net by the Bedford defender instead. To take a 4-3 lead and be in front for the first time, Kaylee Senter's ball forward from a kick-in was blocked by the defender, but Bekah Tonks was there to lash home the rebound with her left foot into the far right corner.
Now that the Aztecs were in front, and the momentum of the game had shifted, defend the lead, and the three points would head south. With seven minutes remaining, Bedford had a corner. Some sleepy defending allowed the attacker to sneak in and equalise. 4-4. The Aztecs kept pushing, but Bedford regained the lead moments later. A throw from the keeper over the top of the Aztecs defence had the forward in, whose half-volley hit the underside of the bar on the way into the net, making it 5-4 to the bad guys. The sixth and final Bedford goal came from another badly defended restart, with the initial ball being blocked, but the rebound being hit home. The Aztecs did their best to throw the kitchen sink at the opponents. Rebecca Moody took a kick-in square to Lauren Sayler, whose ball forward found Bekah Tonks. Bekah chested it down, rounded the defender, and then nutmegged the keeper from a tight angle. The Aztecs could not find the tying goal, throwing away the lead after clawing it back twice.
Despite that, we do wonder if any team has ever had two sisters score a brace each, with both a right-footed and a left-footed goal.
Below is the full match for your viewing pleasure.
Kayleigh Tonks was voted as player of the match. Check out her two goals, and the rest of the highlights below.
The scores from the day of games.
We're over halfway through this stage of the season. With three games remaining, it now feels like every game is a six pointer.
The race for fourth is going to be very tight. The Aztecs play Genesis next, followed by Bloomsbury, with Reading on the final day. If you'd like to make your own predictions at home, here are the remaining fixtures.
Aztecs; Genesis, Bloomsbury, Reading Royals.
Bedford; Bloomsbury, Genesis, Helvecia.
Bloomsbury; Bedford, Aztecs, Birmingham.
Reading Royals; Coventry, Birmingham, Aztecs.