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Women's Football News
Westfield 2 Panthers 0
Westfield celebrated their first match at the superb new Woking Park ground with a 2-0 win over Panthers in the top of the table clash in the London and South East League Premier Division.
Two Laura Derlacki goals, one in each half, proved the deciding factor between the teams on the day.
An even first half saw both sides take advantage of the immaculate playing surface to move the ball around well but after the break it was Westfield who showed some very fluent and imaginative passing using the full width of the pitch to stretch the Panthers defence. Andressa Silva in the visitors goal made several high quality saves to keep the score down, aided by a couple of goalline clearances before Derlacki made the game safe.
Panthers had scored six in their previous away match at former league leaders Hemel Hempstead and posed a real threat at times in the first half, especially from corners. Westfield were strong in central defence and generally protected keeper Emily Bourne well. With Derlacki and Laura Low always a threat in attack, Westfield went close on two occasions before taking the lead.
Low set up the opener, robbing a defender before squaring for Derlacki to slot past the keeper.on 40 minutes. The pair nearly set up a second but Low shot wide just before the break .
A misplaced back pass nearly gave Panthers an equaliser directly after half time but it was Westfield who then stepped up their game. Hannah Searle and Emma Barnes controlled the midfield with Searle setting up two excellent chances with passes threaded through the back line, only for Silva to race out quickly to block Low and Derlacki's shots. Cat Allcock made a good stop on the line after a scramble in the box from Westfield sub Laura Hann's corner and Silva dived to her right push away a Barnes effort at full stretch.
Panthers pacy attacker Kirsty O'Sullivan made her way into the area only to be denied by a fine tackle by Michelle Davies and the result was still in doubt with twenty minutes to go.
It was another cool finish by Derlacki from another well weighted Searle through ball which gave the home team breathing space and gave a result which reflected the balance of play and chances. Panthers kept pressing without ever looking as threatening as they did in the first half and Westfield saw the game out comfortably.
Both sides contributed to an enjoyable match and both will surely be in the mix for promotion in a league which always seems to be highly competitive at the top end. Westfield played their first four matches away and now have a majority of home fixtures at the new facility, where the new pitch and off field provision are of high quality.
Westfield: Emily Bourne, Clare Shell, Sarah Brown, Alysha Frampton, Michelle Davies, Dannielle Wright, Emma Barnes, Rebecca Sargeant, Laura Derlacki, Hannah Searle, Laura Low. Subs: Louisa Stimson, Debbie Welford, Rachel Woodland, Laura Hann.
Panthers: Andressa Silva, Karen O'Neill, Amanda O'Neill, Mary Dawson, Cat Allcock, Kelly Barton, Amy Butcher, Kirsty O'Sullivan, Eloise Young, Fran Hussey, Steph Shaw. Sub: Nicky Binder.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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