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Viking South Utsira
Division 4h, The Xpert Ladies
Manager: VelvetAndroid
Happy family reunion for Utsirans
Viking South Utsira's fall from grace over recent campaigns was emphasized this week by the Blood Eagles only having time for two preseason friendlies before being pitched straight back into competitive football with a first-round Xpert Ladies Cup tie on Saturday, a stage they had bypassed for numerous seasons until recently.

The first friendly a week earlier was a notable one, though, as it saw VSU travel to Great Horned Owls -- longterm home of two Viking youth products. Hence, rather amazingly, this was the first occasion that members of the Utsiran diaspora had ever faced off with their family members and former teammates, with the Owls' midfield starring both Ingeborg Kvalvik and Ida Klovning. Each left Utsira as teenagers in 2016 to join the Finnish club, though even that was well over a year after the two teams' only prior meeting four and a half years ago. That friendly was memorable though as it marked the opening of a relatively well-worn track between Utsira and the Tongass Forest Stadium, with young VSU forward Alexandra Klovning having already committed to moving to the Owls before kickoff. Uniquely, "A-Klov"'s Blood Eagles swansong consisted of her coming on for a last-five-minutes cameo for Viking, before staying behind with her new club while her now ex-teammates departed.

On that occasion, two goals from Manuças Fudida and one from fellow Viking legend Lurdes Quental gave VelvetAndroid's side a 3-1 win. This time it was a dramatic 4-2, with the visitors taking the lead through Bergljot Kvalvik only for Ida Klovning to set up GHO striker Almunda Delagarza to level after half an hour. Two quick goals from Heidi Hovland and Bergljot just after the interval put the Blood Eagles back in control, but there was applause from both sets of fans when Klovning pulled another back just after the hour mark. It took a second from Hovland late on, clipping home strike partner Emilie Klovning's cross, to secure victory in this 'reunion' affair.

Having ended the last term with a 5-1 thumping at FC Sprezzatura, Viking were hopeful of doing better in a swift repeat fixture with manager Android actually present this time. Well, they did do better -- but only in that 4-1 is slightly less of a thrashing. The sides exchanged goals in the first eight minutes, Birgit Austrheim canceling out Donatella Bigeni's early strike, but the Utsirans could not capitalize on a lot of possession and were overpowered after the break. Two late goals capped by Bigeni's second completed another, though somewhat harsher, rout on the scoreboard at least.

The weekend's Cup trip to Division 6 outfit Alissa brought a winning start to Season 56, at any rate, though Viking eased up too quickly after racing to a four-goal lead in the opening quarter of the game. Bergljot, Lina Hovland, Tyra Klovning and Yasmine Klovning all found the target, but it took until Birgit Austrheim's penalty on the hour for them to move the scoreboard further and their only other second-half attempt came when Bergljot notched her fourth of the week soon after.

The match was more significant, arguably, for who did not appear. Birgit's sister Asta has announced her impending retirement at the end of the season, and did not feature, but there was much more surprise when Heidi Hovland -- who had appeared on the published teamsheet -- was yanked from the matchday squad just before kickoff amid rumors that a shock transfer bid had been made for her. This was proved correct later in the day, so the 29-year-old's two-goal performance against Great Horned Owls may prove an epitaph. After 12 seasons in the team without being able to supplant Emilie Klovning, and with Nina Austrheim coming up on her heels for most of that time too, it appears "Heidi Ho" will be saying tally-ho in the coming days and exiting for pastures new.

2019-08-21 19:35 1394 Views Reporter: Sayan44

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