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Women's Football News
Crawley Wasps 2 Maidstone Utd 0
Crawley Wasps gave their own promotion hopes a boost and dented those of their visitors Maidstone United with a 2-0 victory at Three Bridges FC.
A highly impressive display by the Wasps gave them a deserved win which might well have been far more emphatic, given the host of chances their pacey and inventive attacking play created over the ninety minutes. Maidstone had their moments and were competitive throughout but never found a goal to get them back in the match.
Maidstone started the day on top of the London & South East Regional League Premier Division table but were knocked out of their stride almost from the whistle. Wasps forced a corner within ten seconds and were ahead in the fifth minute after a left side run from Faye Rabson. Stones keeper Emma Hogben did well to block her close range effort but the ball was swept home by Aston Worsfold.
Wasps skipper Natalie Stephenson had a 25-yard free kick held by Hogben before Claire Williams went close for Maidstone, firing inches wide when played in by Aimee Churchill on 16 minutes.
Toni Smith was close to adding a second from a cross and had two more efforts blocked before finding the net just after the half hour. Jade Simmons sent Smith clear on the right and she finished emphatically for Wasps' second. Rabson nearly added a third but was foiled by a good save from Hogben, followed by excellent defending by Rachel Brewer to clear her follow up effort off the line.
Stephenson hit a 40-yard free kick which was heading for the top left corner till Hogben reached high to save but it was Maidstone who nearly reduced the deficit right on the break when a weak clearance was returned just wide of goal from 15 yards out by Gemma Relph.
Crawley started the second half with the same high tempo pressing game which had characterised their opening period, often winning the ball back in good positions. One such move played in Rabson who sliced wide when well placed on 55 minutes. Wasps were nearly pegged back when keeper Coleen Donovan hit a clearance straight to Chelsea Wallace 20 yards out but she recovered well to hold an attempted lobbed finish.
Wasps took control after this scare and upped their work rate even more with Worsfold and Rabson busy on the wings to keep Maidstone penned back for most of the final half hour. Hogben made two more fine saves, Rabson went close twice from close range, whilst Holly Walker headed just over from a corner.
Maidstone were rarely able to trouble a very solid Wasps defence and the hosts saw out the final minutes comfortably to claim a well earned three points.
The L&SERL is highly competitive and both teams are in the mix at the top of the table. Crystal Palace's Cup exploits have left them with several matches in hand and London Corinthians, with whom Wasps have shared two draws in the previous two weeks, are also competing for the title.
Crawley Wasps: Coleen Donovan, Alexandra Lebrato, Alex Tibble, Aston Worsfold, Suzy Davies, Natalie Stephenson, Toni Smith, Faye Rabson, Jade Simmons, Holly Walker, Kelly Poynton. Subs: Adrianna Pou Garcia, Michelle Ward, Rachel Halliday.
Maidstone United: Emma Hogben, Emma Harrington, Abi Spragg, Rachel Brewer, Gemma Relph, Chelsea Wallace, Nicola Morris, Laura Lepetzidis, Danielle Ford, Aimee Churchill, Claire Williams. Subs: Lucy Harrington, Kayleigh Lecomber, Annie Ruler.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Claire Williams battles for the ball with Holly Walker
(middle) Chelsea Wallace takes on Aston Worsfold
(bottom) Faye Rabson shoots fractionally wide past Abi Spragg and keeper Emma Hogben
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