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Abbey Rangers 1 Fulham FC Foundation Res 2
Fulham FC Foundation Reserves came from a goal down to beat high flying Abbey Rangers 2-1 in their South East Counties Division One West encounter, to keep them on the fringes of the promotion race and inflict only the second league defeat of the season on the hosts.
In a fiercely contested match, with play of a very good standard from both teams, Fulham rode their luck in a shaky opening period but then impressed with well constructed attacks which often put Rangers on the back foot.
Abbey Rangers tore into the visitors almost from the first whistle and created no less than four very good chances in the first ten minutes. Amber Walker shot wide when through on goal, then Fulham keeper Georgina Andrews made good saves from Rachel Johnson twice and Walker once.
Fulham eventually settled and gained a measure of control for a while but were then undone by a super solo goal from Rachel Johnson on 25 minutes. Gaining possession on halfway, the Abbey striker simply ran at and outpaced the Fulham defence and finished calmly past Andrews from close range.
Fulham continued to build play very well but good defending from the hosts kept them down to half chances. Sarah Wentworth had a shot which went wide and keeper Holly Nunn was quick off her line on two occasions to clear dangerous through balls but half time came with Abbey Rangers in the lead .
The gusty breeze across the Addlestone Moor pitch made judgement of crosses difficult but both sets of players coped very well and a fierce second half battle unfolded with the strong Fulham attackers being well marshalled by the Abbey defence and the home side looking lively on the break.
A free kick awarded centrally in Fulham's favour 25 yards out led to the equaliser on 53 minutes. Becky Deacon hit a powerful low shot which was perfectly placed wide of the wall into the bottom right corner of Nunn's goal.
Abbey were agonisingly close to regaining the lead three minutes later when Rachel Johnson was sent clear of the defence and took the ball past Andrews but was just unable to apply the finishing touch, colliding with the upright and having to go off injured. During her absence, Fulham scored the winning goal when Kendal Styles blocked a clearance 20 yards out and ran on, holding off a defender to finish from ten yards on 74 minutes.
Hard as Abbey tried to get back into the match with Rachel Johnson, back on after treatment, proving a constant threat, it was Fulham who looked the more likely scorers for much of the final quarter hour. Abbey were reduced to ten when skipper Clara Walding was sent off and Fulham nearly added a third when the impressive Styles hit the bar from distance.
With plenty of matches still to play, the South East Counties League Division One West is still wide open, with Crawley Wasps Reserves setting the pace, Abbey Rangers still second despite this setback now four points behind but still with two games in hand and Fulham FC Foundation Reserves lifting themselves to fourth with this win.
Abbey Rangers: Holly Nunn, Jenna Wark, Clara Walding, Natalie Jones, Alice Carter-Champion, Nancy Jones, Rachel Stevens, Stephanie Sale, Annabelle D'Arcy, Amber Walker, Rachel Johnson. Subs: Julia Varley, Tamsin Lansdowne, Hannah Johnson.
Fulham FC Foundation Res: Georgina Andrews, Suzanne Descateaux, Georgia Fraser, Julie Blackstock, Ashlee Armstrong, Nichola Marr, Emily Stanley, Sarah Wentworth, Layla Al-Kaisi, Liberty Morrice-Bartlett, Kendal Styles. Subs: Paige Hersey, Becky Deacon, Valli McAdam, Georgina Sellick, Shannon Billy.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Kendall Styles is challenged by Natalie Jones
(middle) Rachel Johnson takes on Layla Al Kasia
(bottom) Georgia Fraser under pressure from Amber Walker
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