Lowestoft Ladies 2 Acle Ladies 0
The Lowestoft Ladies continued their winning start to the season with a strong second half performance to beat Acle 2-0.
The Lowestoft Ladies continued their winning start to the season with a strong second half performance to beat Acle 2-0, with both goals coming from pacey striker Clieo Stephenson.
Lowestoft went into the game unbeaten in the league since forming at the start of last season and with miserable weather and a strengthened Acle side in front of them, the game was set to be a real test of their character.
With the rain falling Lowestoft made a quick start to the match, with Lauren Bullard and Natasha Thomas creating good space and movement down the right channel.
This good work lead to Lowestoft's first attempt on goal, with Lauren Bullard driving to the touchline and pulling the ball back to the edge of the box for Laura Dyson to send a shot bending just wide of the goal.
Acle were having little of the ball early on and when their number 9 did get in round the back of the Lowestoft defence, Sue-Lyn was there to get a great blocking tackle in.
Lowestoft continued to dominate proceedings but as the half went on the Lowestoft midfield started to drop a little too deep and this allowed Acle to settle and pick up some of the possession.
Luckily for Lowestoft though, they showed that their quality runs right through the side from front to back, as Flo Cage and Sue-Lyn were alert and solid and I have to say look like a great defensive pairing with a good understanding and reading of the game.
Lowestoft nearly broke the deadlock with the busy Lauren Bullard involved again, getting in round the back of the Acle defence and rolling the ball back to the edge of the box for Broghan Scully to send a shot fizzing just over the bar.
The Acle number 9 appeared to be their main target and after being played in on goal she must have thought this was the chance to snatch the lead but Lowestoft keeper Nikki Wigg was quickly off her line to get to ground and gather the ball well.
Lowestoft nearly responded by opening the scoring themselves, as Natasha Thomas bent a ball in from all of 30 yards, clearing the keeper and seeing the ball come back into play off the upright.
Lowestoft were now getting on top again and the introduction of Clieo Stephenson and her bucket loads of pace was forcing the Acle defence back and allowing the Lowestoft midfield to move up more.
Lowestoft probably should have gone into the break ahead, as with halftime approaching Clieo Stephenson got in round the back on two occasions but the midfield was found wanting this time, with nobody supporting her and making a run into the box.
The Lowestoft midfield hadn't been sharp enough in the first half in supporting play and taking hold of the game but the second half saw a much improved performance all over the pitch.
Lowestoft nearly nudged ahead early on, with Clieo Stephenson bursting forward and showing good skill to open up the goal but she couldn't quite lift the ball over the advancing keeper.
Clieo Stephenson was now lurking on the shoulder of the defender and causing havoc with her pace every time the ball came to her. Natasha Thomas nearly benefited from this, as with Clieo Stephenson leaving her marker for dead and finding Natasha Thomas in the box, she fumbled a great chance in front of goal, as the score remained 0-0.
Even a long range effort from Marcie Prettyman just went wide of the goal but you had the feeling that Lowestoft were now in their stride and a goal would come.
This proved to be the case and on 58 minutes Broghan Scully played a ball over the top and with Natasha Thomas running onto it and into the box, she squared for Clieo Stephenson who had the simplest of tasks to slot home for 1-0.
The goal really lifted Lowestoft and they were now playing to the level they're capable of, with the midfield now getting onto the ball and Ellie Froud picking out some good passes for the lively Clieo Stephenson and Natasha Thomas to feed off. However, praise had to go to the Acle defence, who were defending well and making it difficult for Lowestoft to carve out the clear cut chances.
That was until a rare defensive error let Clieo Stephenson in on goal and she punished Acle to the maximum, finishing superbly from a tough angle to send the ball into the far corner and send Lowestoft 2-0 up (69 mins).
The remainder of the half was pretty much one way traffic and with the ball bobbling around in the Acle area, Laura Dyson nearly put the cherry on top of the scoreline but after latching onto the ball her shot kept rising and cleared the Acle crossbar.
Lowestoft however had put in a very good second half shift and with the final whistle being blown, they had secured another deserved win to continue their great start to the season.
Lauren Bullard had a great game down the right and showed good composure in her deliver and yet again I was very impressed with Flo Cage, who has a great defensive brain on her shoulders but also shows great versatility. My lady of the match today though was Clieo Stephenson, who's introduction and pace caused the Acle defence no end of problems and a superbly taken second goal in a brace for her, secured Lowestoft the points.
Next Sunday will see the Ladies kick-off their FA Cup campaign, away to Hethersett Athletic. All the best Ladies!!