Enfield Ladies 2 Lowestoft Ladies 1
Lowestoft Ladies put in a valiant effort, as they lose 2-1 to an Enfield side from two leagues higher in the League Cup.
Lowestoft Ladies put in a valiant effort, as they lose 2-1 to an Enfield side from two leagues higher in the League Cup. Tireless work by Natasha Thomas and some great stops by lady of the match Nikki Wigg, kept Lowestoft in the game throughout a testing match.
The Lowestoft Ladies went into the game with just 11 players, due to illness and commitments and kicked off the first half into a sturdy wind.
The first 20 minutes of the match saw large spells of possession for Enfield but the Lowestoft defence were coping fairly well overall, with Marcie Prettyman defending well at right back and captain Sue-Lyn King closing down the opposition really well. Enfield were looking like the team that might take and early advantage but they were restricted to just one chance of any worth, with the number 11 blazing wide when in on goal.
Broghan Scully was covering plenty of ground in midfield but Lowestoft were struggling to take full control in the centre of the pitch and were focusing their efforts on balls over the top of the Enfield defence, to try and take advantage of the pace held by pocket rocket Natasha Thomas. This very nearly brought dividend with Natasha Thomas being found over the top and getting round the keeper, only to see the ball roll wide of the far post, after shooting across goal.
The number 11 had another sight of goal for Enfield as the half hour approached but an excellent last ditch tackle by Sue-Lyn King saw the danger averted and the ball sent behind for a corner.
As half time approached both sides had chances to go in at the break with a lead, with Lowestoft keeper Nikki Wigg turning one round the post to deny Enfield and Natasha Thomas tussling with the Enfield defence to get in again but this time seeing her shot across goal just touched wide by the Enfield shot stopper.
The half came to an end with the sky opening and rain falling and with both sides having chances there was still all to play for.
The second half got underway with the rain still falling and Lowestoft coming out looking brighter in their early play. Their bright start to the half looked like it had brought reward, with some good build up play and a ball into the Enfield box being handled on the ground by the defender, for what was a stonewall penalty. However, Enfield had 'lady luck' to thank, as the referee astonishingly appeared to have missed it and gave nothing!
It had been a brighter start by the Lowestoft Ladies but as Enfield settled into the half they started to run midfield again, with the Lowestoft midfield not getting tight enough and going missing on occasions, which was allowing Enfield space and time.
Lowestoft, to their credit though, kept plucking away and with Natasha Thomas putting in a hard working performance and showing good movement, it was her ball in from the right which saw the Enfield number 7 send the ball past her own keeper from close range, as Lowestoft got their noses 1-0 in front (64 mins).
Unfortunately the lead only lasted 3 minutes, as Enfield sent a long ball forward themselves and with no Lowestoft players attacking the ball the number 11 lifted the ball over keeper Nikki Wigg to level the score at 1-1 (67 mins).
The equaliser lifted Enfield, who were now knocking the ball around well and applying a fair bit of pressure on the Lowestoft goal. Another goal looked certain as Enfield broke away and the number 11 was sent in on goal but Lowestoft had their keeper Nikki Wigg to thank, as she got down to save well and to keep the scores level.
With legs starting to tire on both sides the game started to go from end to end and on 78 minutes a defensive slip by Lowestoft was punished, with the number 10 homing in on goal and smashing the ball past Nikki Wigg, who got a hand to it but it just had too much power, as Enfield went 2-1 ahead (78 mins).
Enfield were buoyed by taking the lead and very nearly made it three but were yet again denied by Lowestoft keeper Nikki Wigg. Lowestoft kept plucking away though and even though Natasha Thomas was looking a lone figure up top now, nobody's head dropped, as Lowestoft looked to try and find the equaliser. Enfield, however, were still a danger themselves and very nearly put the game to bed but yet again Nikki Wigg saved excellently, this time with her legs from the Enfield number 12.
Lowestoft tried to find a way through with the minutes ticking down but just couldn't get the clear breakthrough to level things up again, as Enfield reached the final whistle and ran out 2-1 winners.
Lowestoft no doubt will have been disappointed to have gone out but when reflecting on the game, they were playing opposition from two leagues higher and on top of this have been confronted with postponed training and matches due to weather, which doesn't help preparations.
The team as a whole dug in and were never out of the game, even if at times they had their keeper to thank for that. On another day and with the whole squad available things may have been different but they should certainly come out of the game with the confidence that they held their own and only lost by one goal against higher opposition.
Standout performances today came from Marcie Prettyman who defended well by not only putting in some good tackles but also on occasions staying on her feet and cutting off the danger. Sue-Lyn led like a captain at the back and closed down the opposing players well and Natasha Thomas again showed what a valuable talent she is for Lowestoft, with her tireless work and movement up front. However the Lady of the Match had to be the Lowestoft keeper Nikki Wigg, who made some great saves and blocks throughout the match to ensure Lowestoft were always in with a shout.
Well done Ladies and keep those heads held high!!