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Abbey Rangers 3 New Milton Town 1
Newly promoted Abbey Rangers find themselves top of the early Southern Region League Division One table after a 3-1 home win over New Milton Town.
Three long range strikes settled a well contested and enjoyable match where both teams played attractive passing football on a warm Surrey afternoon. A late consolation for the Linnets was well taken and deserved but Abbey had impressed with a resolute defence and good use of the ball in attack.
Play was end to end from the first whistle with a sweeping New Milton move ended by a good low save by Sammi Shaw in the home goal from Anna Fenton's shot. Abbey forced an early corner and when the ball was half cleared, Megan McGarvey drove the opener with a low shot in the bottom left corner on eight minutes.
Rebecca Burtenshaw nearly added a second with a run and lobbed shot but the ball landed on the roof of Cerys Moxom's net but chances were at a premium against two well drilled and hard tackling defences.
After the break, New Milton had an early half chance as Emma Fletcher's shot drifted wide of the far post but it was Abbey who doubled their lead with a superb Isobel Saunders effort on 52 minutes. Turning past a challenge, Saunders hit a lofted shot from 25 yards high into the top left corner, giving Moxom no chance.
Lucy Slater, who had a fine match in midfield for the visitors. nearly pulled a goal back on 62 minutes but it was the hosts who extended their lead with another powerful shot from distance, this time by Rebecca Phillips on 74 minutes.
Moxom prevented further damage with two fine saves, tipping over from substitute Bethany Easterman before going low to turn away a shot from the corner.
New Milton finished strongly with Slater and Fletcher moving further forward and it was the former who reduced the arrears running beyond the back line before rounding Shaw and finishing from a tight angle on 83 minutes.
Another good move down the right saw Fletcher send in a stinging shot well held by keeper Shaw as the visitors finished strongly but Abbey had deserved the win with a fine team performance which leaves them as the only club with a 100 per cent record in Division One.
Sammi Shaw, Kerry Russell, Lesley Owen, Natalie Jones, Julia Varley, Rebecca Phillips, Megan McGarvey, Isobel Saunders, Laura Hobbs, Rebecca Burtenshaw, Lauren Timbrell. Subs: Shannon Byrne, Nancy Jones, Charlotte Stoate, Bethany Easterman.
New Milton Town:
Cerys Moxom, Serena Kolowski, Jasmin Tuck, Daisy Bradford, Lucy Slater, Victoria Wardle, Fern Holleyoak, Emma Fletcher, Jess Nock, Shannon Honan, Anna Fenton.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Kerry Russell in a chase for the ball with Anna Fenton
(middle) Rebecca Burtenshaw gets in a shot, watched by Serena Kolowski
(bottom) Bethany Easterman is closed down by Anna Fenton
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