Unbeaten home run continues for the ladies
By Katie Burrows
Second win on the bounce
After securing their spot in the next round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup (drawing Acle at home), Sudbury ladies were hoping to notch their first win of the season at home to AFC Dunstable Ladies.
The ladies began well, nearly taking the lead in the first couple of minutes, after a lovely through ball from central midfielder, Ceri Harris, found Sophie Jeffery, but she could only find the side netting with her effort.
Dunstable took no time in replying with their own effort. With Sudbury players backing off, the Dunstable attacking midfielder drove forward into the space and hit a strike from 20 yards that found the gloves of goalkeeper Penny Everett.
This set the tone for the opening minutes of the half, as both sides traded possession.
It was Sudbury however, who took the lead on 15 minutes. Once again, Harris found Jeffery with a through ball, which she collected and dribbled to the by-line, before crossing for Mia Etheridge to finish first time in the bottom corner. That was Etheridge’s second goal in as many matches.
The final half an hour of the first half was largely played out in the centre of the pitch, as both midfields battled to obtain and retain possession. There were half-chances for both sides, but the half fizzled out and the teams went into the break at 1-0.
As the second half began, it was Dunstable who started brighter and looked to grab an equalizer early, dominating possession. Despite this, they were unable to capitalize and on 70 minutes, Sudbury doubled their lead against the run of play. First-half substitute, Semma Halil was released through the middle from an Etheridge through ball, beating the covering defender to shoot. Her shot was saved by the keeper and the ball rebounded straight back to Halil, who was still on the floor after stretching for her shot. Halil showed great composure to pass the ball the Jeffery who was able to strike into the now open net.
Dunstable rallied and doubled their pressure. They almost got a goal back from a flurry of chances, with two smart saves from Sudbury keeper Everett, before the rebound being fired over by a Dunstable attacker.
Dunstable were finally rewarded for all their pressure on 77 minutes. Dunstable’s attacker, who had an otherwise frustrating afternoon, finally beat the Sudbury offside trap to latch onto a through ball and finish smartly past Everett.
This made the closing minutes rather nervy for spectators, but Sudbury responded and began to press Dunstable a lot higher up the pitch, ensuring the ball remained in the Dunstable half. The result were two half-chances for Jeffery, and a huge chance for Harris to score, after a keeper error. Harris was gifted the ball after the Dunstable keeper tried to pass out, but after two dummied shots, her eventual effort trickled wide of the post.
Sudbury did restore their two-goal lead in the final moments. Jeffery tricked her was past the Dunstable right back and squared the ball for Semma Halil to grab a much-deserved goal after a hard-working performance from the substitute bench.
Full time 3 -1
All in all, Dunstable can feel hard done by not to be taking away any points from their performance, however it was Sudbury who dug in to take all 3 points. Up next for Sudbury Ladies is newly promoted Wymondham, away in the Eastern Region Women’s Premier League, kick off 2pm.
Lineup against Dunstable: Penny Everett, Amanda Short, Holly Harrison, Rebecca Chandler, Marie Seabrook, Rachel White, Charley Roach-Smith, Ceri Harris, Emma Squirrell, Mia Etheridge, Sophie Jeffery
Subs: Semma Halil, Phoebe Scott