London Pulse Takes 11th Win in a Row Away to Sirens

After their historic victory against Manchester Thunder and a relaxing by weekend, the team regrouped and hopped on a plane to Scotland. They knew it was going to be a tough shift travelling from London to Glasgow and back in the same day, whilst having to take on the relentless Sirens side.

Sam Bird’s starting seven for London Pulse:

GS – Olivia Tchine (VC)

GA – Berri Neil

WA – Chelsea Pitman

C – Jade Clarke

WD – Zara Everitt (C)

GD – Funmi Fadoju

GK – Halimat Adio

Substitutions: Ashleigh Dekker, Linsday Keable, Sacha McDonald, Ellie Rattu and Alicia Scholes

Pulse start with the ball and Sirens put up a strong defensive structure straight away, but Pulse keep their composure, moving the ball around until Tchine gets it in under the post. Sirens do the same, but its Pulse who make the first error with a mishandling of the ball in the goal third. Sirens take their turnover to goal, followed by a long ball into the circle, giving them the early lead 3-1. Another error on the feed from Pulse gives Sirens another opportunity to extend their lead. However, Pulse make it difficult and they force a ball off the backline. By shortening the play, Pulse find their shooters in the circle with more ease and they get back within one (4-5). Strong full team defence pressure from Pulse wins them a held ball and they go level, but the London side are still trying to find their feet and Sirens steal the ball back again. The home side do well to take their turnovers to goal and with 6 minutes to go Pulse are trailing by 4 (6-10). Pitman’s arms over pressure wins Pulse the ball and a beautiful fake from Neil to Tchine brings the gap to two (8-10). It feels like Pulse are still trying to find their flow as more uncharacteristic errors appear, but they quickly transition into defence and give themselves another opportunity to rectify their mistakes. However, the connections still haven’t clicked yet and they end the quarter down 11-14.

No changes for Pulse as they begin the fight to shorten the gap. The Pulse side come out in force and begin the quarter with a run of three, putting them back level with Sirens. Fadoju takes a clean interception on first phase centre pass, which helps her side take the lead 18-15. Despite the score line, Pulse still don’t look like the team we’re used to, and more unforced errors allow Sirens to keep on their heels. Having said that, they continue to add

to the goal difference as Fadoju takes another three interceptions (23-17). With just over 5 minutes to go, Pulse are looking much sharper with some quick and clean play from Pitman, Neil and Clarke around the circle edge. As the whistle goes the score ends 29-24 with Pulse back on top.

Sam Bird makes five changes for Pulse as they enter the second half of the game (McDonald on at GA, Scholes on at WA, Dekker into C, Rattu on at WD and Keable on at GK). Keable starts the game off with a defensive rebound and Dekker fires it into Tchine under the post. Another uncharacteristic error from Pulse give Sirens the ball and they take it to goal. Fadoju takes another tip and collection in the circle but the ball falls back into Sirens hands again. Long range shooting from Sirens helps them narrow the gap to just two goals (30-28) and the fight is back on. Scholes uses her speed to get depth in the attacking third and finds McDonald. Some scrappy play from Pulse gives the ball back to Sirens and they’re back level (34-34). Sirens are upping the pressure, but Scholes feeds a lovely high ball into Tchine. Fadoju gets a tip in the circle and Rattu collects, Pulse take it to 37-34. Keable reads the pass outside the circle and take the interception but it’s lost though court. Fadoju gets her hands on the ball and Keable collects it under the post and Tchine slots it in (40-36).

No changes going into the last quarter and Sirens start with the ball. More of the same unforced errors from Pulse are seen in the early minutes of this quarter and Sirens are within two (39-41). Pulse have to be patient and play the ball back to the transverse line, then Dekker finds McDonald on the baseline drive and she nails it in (42-40). Great defensive pressure from the back four force an error from Sirens and McDonald rewards them with a shot from range (44-41). Fadoju shines again and takes two interceptions back-to-back, making it 48-42. With 8 minutes to go, Sirens make a change in C, but Keable gets a tip and chases it down, batting it to Rattu before she falls out of court. Scholes and McDonald are linking well around the circle, but the game continues goal-for-goal (50-45). Rattu takes an interception on the edge of the circle and Dekker uses the triangle to find Tchine, who adds another to their lead. Another lovely high ball from Scholes finds Tchine under the post and she makes it an 8-goal lead with just over 3 minutes to go. Fadoju adds to her impressive list and gets yet another tip which Keable collects. As they bring it out of defence Fadoju collides with a Sirens player and goes down. Everitt comes on at GD and the game resumes. Rattu sends a long one into Tchine and she maintains the 8-goal lead. The last 90 seconds see errors from both teams with balls not finding their players, but it’s Pulse who come away with the win 53-46.

Congratulation to Funmi Fadoju who takes ‘Player of the match’ for the incredible defensive effort awarding her with countless tips and interceptions. Pulse take on Celtic Dragons away this Friday