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Actonians Ladies 5 Norwich City 2
Actonians completed their third FAWNL South East Division One win in eight days with a convincing 5-2 victory over Norwich City at Rectory Park.
After a competitive first half where the West Londoners led by the odd goal in five, the hosts dominated the second period, adding two more and going close on several more occasions to complete an excellent week after wins over Luton Town and Denham United.
Norwich, themselves on a high after a midweek win in the East Anglian derby, started with confidence but fell behind after ten minutes when Jennifer Laidlaw finished low past Hope Armstrong in the Canaries' goal.
The visitors were soon level with a finely struck Natasha Snelling free kick from wide on the left. Actonians were making good progress on either wing and after fine build up play it was Mariko Engels on the left who set up Alessandra Barreca to power home the second midway through the half.
Norwich went close to equalising after a great run by Snelling released Rosie George clear on goal but her shot was wide of the post. Carla Williams was inches away from converting Simone Wan's cross before Barreca added a third for Actonians on 36 minutes with a fine solo run and shot into the bottom left corner.
The visitors again clawed back the deficit with arguably the goal of the game. Kate Parsons, who was excellent throughout, controlled a clearance, took the ball forwards and drove a 30-yard ball into the top right corner of Paige Horsnell's goal on 39 minutes.
Norwich had done well to remain in the match by the break but Actonians stepped up their intensity on the restart, snapping into challenges and always looking to turn the visiting defence with early through balls, whilst also pressing high up the pitch when Norwich played out from the back.
Eventually the home dominance paid off with their crucial fourth goal, made by the persistence of Laidlaw on 65 minutes and driven home powerfully from 15 yards by Barreca for a fine hat-trick.
With Norwich unable to threaten the Actonians goal as they had before the break, it was almost inevitable that the home team would add to their tally. Armstrong made a couple of good saves to deny them and other chances went begging but on 76 minutes, substitute Sara Lopez Ezzahiri profited from a defensive mix up to add the fifth.
Parsons had a header over the bar from a Norwich corner in the final minute but Actonians had run out deserving winners to carry on their progress up the league table into third place behind leading duo Billericay Town and Crawley Wasps.
Paige Horsnall, Simone Wan, Catherine Murphy, Lafe Uche, Micaela Lopes, Jennifer Laidlaw, Alessandra Barreca, Mariko Engels, Chelsea Orridge-Golding, Carla Williams, Hannah Summers. Subs: Naomi Graham, Sara Lopez Ezzahiri, Zoe Maylin.
Hope Armstrong, Alex Parker, Summer Ward, Tigi Robson, Kate Parsons, Kirstie Smith, Natasha Youngs, Jodie Drake, Rosie George, Natasha Snelling, Kyla Love. Subs: Eliza McDonald, Summer Rodgers, Leanna Cook.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Mariko Engels challenges Tigi Robson
(middle) Lafe Uche tries to hold off Jodie Drake
(bottom) Michaela Lopes slides in to tackle Rosie George
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