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Long Crendon 5 Kingsclere 1
Long Crendon maintained the perfect start to their Thames Valley Counties League Division Two campaign with a 5-1 home win over Kingsclere, their sixth win in a row.
A prolific first half saw all the scoring, with the Hampshire visitors giving a determined second half display to keep the home attack at bay but Long Crendon were never in danger of losing their 100 per cent record.
The hosts opened the scoring with a fine finish by Katie Thorp, chasing down a through pass to loft a shot home from a tight angle on six minutes. Kingsclere keeper Hannah Bennett was injured making a save and was replaced by Hannah Sibley before Long Crendon added a second on 28 minutes. Skipper Nicole Jacobs did well to reach and convert a cross from the left after an initial corner was cleared.
The lively home attackers were soon seeking out more chances. Thorp reacted quickly to fire home a loose ball for the third on 32 minutes then, after good defending seemed to have denied the hosts, Samantha Bignall returned a clearance first time from 25 yards to add a spectacular fourth on 36 minutes.
Another fine run and finish, this time by Michelle Bailey, on 45 minutes gave Long Crendon a five-goal cushion but Kingsclere finished a difficult half on a high when Carly Duckett scored from a corner to reduce the deficit.
Playing down the slope, the hosts might have expected to add to their lead after the break but Kingsclere came out with renewed defensive steel, chasing down every attacking run and getting in good blocks and tackles. Even when Ellie Northcott beat the defence, Sibley was out quickly to block, then did well to turn away a Thorp shot for a corner.
Despite much pressure and some near misses, Long Crendon were unable to add to their first half tally. Kingsclere, whilst never really threatening further goals against a strong defensive unit, had given a good second half display.
Long Crendon, in only their second season after the truncated 2019-20 debut campaign, looked a well drilled, highly motivated team with clever, strong running forwards who will be chasing honours in the remaining two-thirds of their Division Two fixtures.
Long Crendon: Lysh Clarke, Kazia Coleman, Kim Bagnall, Nicole Jacobs, Emma Leith, Danielle Cotton, Billie Regan, Ellie Northcott, Katie Thorp, Michelle Bailey, Natalie Le Manquais. Subs: Samantha Bignall, Olivia Hall, Emma Helmer, Natalie Phillips.
Kingsclere: Hannah Bennett, Lucy Why, Louise Offer, Charlotte Tanner, Laura Fishlock, Louise Crouch, Charlotte Mansfield, Amy Lovelock, Jenna Thain, Carly Duckett, Sophie Bone. Subs: Dani Smithers, Hannah Sibley, Courtney Hance.
(REPORT BY PATRICK HIGGINS)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Emma Leith blocks a Charlotte Tanner shot
(middle) Carly Duckett is tackled by Emma Leith
(bottom) Ellie Northcott is held off by Lucy Why
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