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Women's Football News
Enfield Town 2 Lowestoft Town 1
Enfield Town edged their way through to a Ryman's Women's Cup semi final against either Herne Bay or Gillingham with a 2-1 victory over Lowestoft Town at the Queen Elizabeth 2nd Stadium.
Taking advantage of a slight lull in the rain-soaked holiday period, the teams served up a Christmas treat of a match with the Eastern Regional Division One North leaders defying their South East Combination hosts from the first minute with a performance rich in character and skill.
The Trawler Girls had the two best chances of a goalless first half, having withstood incessant home pressure and even took the lead midway through the second half. Enfield struck back quickly and finished the match very strongly but were always tested by very dangerous counter attacking from the pacey Lowestoft attackers.
Enfield had several half chances in the opening quarter but were wayward in their crossing and shooting. The hosts were caught out by a simple through pass on 24 minutes but, having rounded keeper Laura Holman, Natasha Thomas rolled the ball wide from a narrow angle. Holman denied Thomas again as she closed in on goal before Lowestoft keeper Nikki Wigg was forced into a fine diving save on 40 minutes to keep the interval score blank.
Enfield turned up the tempo on the resumption and Wigg was forced into a series of fine saves to deny Sara Sinclair twice from close range and Katie Wilding from distance. The visitors' defence, with right back Marcie Prettyman and skipper Sue-Lyn King outstanding, were tested to the limit. However on the break, Thomas was a constant menace and Enfield skipper Claire Gooch had to use all her class and experience in testing one-on-one situations. There was a strong appeal for a handball penalty in one such encounter but luck turned when Thomas crossed from the right and Sheree Oliver was unfortunate to turn the ball past Holman on 64 minutes for the Suffolk side to grab the lead.
Enfield needed a quick reply and the hard working Sinclair provided it, lobbing a Wilding through ball past the advancing keeper on 67 minutes. Gooch twice denied Lowestoft a sight of goal with sliding interceptions before Wilding took full advantage of a lucky rebound to bury a powerful shot past Wigg for the winning goal on 78 minutes.
Holman made a good save from a dangerous cross as the visitors sought the equalizer but her opposite number was far busier in a fine display of shot stopping and handling in the final minutes.
It was a credit to all 22 participants that the match was a very entertaining and competitive spectacle. Unbeaten in their league, Lowestoft had a number of very impressive players, whilst Enfield found their attacking rhythm as the match progressed with wing players Emma Thomas and Holly Brandon delivering a supply of inviting crosses. In the end, Enfield found a way to turn the match around but Lowestoft competed well right to the final whistle.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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