Lowestoft Ladies 6 AFC Sudbury 1
The Lowestoft Ladies secured a 6-1 victory over AFC Sudbury to progress to the next round of the FA Cup.
Lowestoft Ladies Team:- Amy Bell, Marcie Prettyman, Chantelle Keevil, Deva Rawlings, Kate Pasque, Broghan Scully, Natasha Thomas, Chloe Hoffman, Jody Wells (Megan Champion 43 mins), Georgia Paul (Daniella Willmott 64 mins), Amber Rowland (Sian Manthorpe 64 mins).
Subs; Sian Manthorpe, Megan Champion, Daniella Willmott
The Lowestoft Ladies secured a 6-1 victory over AFC Sudbury to progress to the next round of the FA Cup, with star player Natasha Thomas registering another hatrick for the blues.
The game was slightly marred though by the leg injury sustained by Jody Wells after a dangerous tackle just before halftime, in which Jody had to be taken to hospital by ambulance to have her injury assessed further.
Team manager David Eastwood was unable to be at the game, so assistant coach Bradley Mingay was in charge as the Ladies hoped to get past the first hurdle and improve on last season's first qualifying round exit.
It was a beautifully sunny and warm day as the game got underway with Lowestoft shaping up in an attacking formation, looking to strike a blow right from the start. Natasha Thomas and Amber Rowland were the front two with Chloe Hoffman supporting from slightly deeper on the right and Chantelle Keevil penetrating with her pace on the left.
Lowestoft were straight out of the traps, creating two chances in the opening minutes of play with Natasha Thomas drilling over and then Chantelle Keevil dragging a shot wide.
Lowestoft had started really brightly with Chantelle Keevil getting high up the pitch to use her pace and power on a regular basis. As a result, Lowestoft were pretty much playing a 4-3-3 at times when in possession but were cleverly switching when not in possession, leaving just Natasha Thomas in an advanced role with everyone else dropping back to close out the space and contain AFC Sudbury.
The pace of Natasha Thomas is frightening at times and following a great pass from Broghan Scully, she ghosted in on goal and slotted the ball away calmly to give Lowestoft the perfect start and a 1-0 lead (9 mins). This was also the first goal to be scored in the new blue and white nets of Lowestoft Town.
Lowestoft were applying plenty of pressure on Sudbury and keeping them penned in. So it was no surprise when Lowestoft doubled their lead with another great pass from Broghan Scully setting Natasha Thomas in the clear again to show great composure to convert for 2-0 (16 mins).
It was all Lowestoft but just as it looked all too easy, Lowestoft keeper Amy Bell was called into action as the number 11 was found in the box and the Lowestoft keeper saved well with her legs. Lowestoft were straight back on the attack though and with Chantelle Keevil continuing to cause problems for Sudbury, she slide the ball in from the left to Amber Rowlands, who sent a sweet curling effort into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance and increasing the lead to 3-0 (21 mins).
Sudbury had brief moments in the Lowestoft half but the defence were alert and Marcie Prettyman in particular was her usual commanding self at right back, tackling with intent and dealing with any danger that came her way.
The Lowestoft team are fully aware of the danger that the pace of Natasha Thomas brings to opposing defences and with a ball being sent over the top, Natasha Thomas burst in on goal again to finish with aplomb for her hatrick and to send Lowestoft 4-0 up (33 mins).
Lowestoft were cruising and with just a few minutes of time remaining before the break the frustrations for Sudbury came in the form of a high tackle on Jody Wells with studs showing. The referee appeared to get his decision wrong when just showing a yellow card, as Jody Wells was stretchered from the pitch and after lengthy treatment was later taken to hospital by ambulance to have the injury assessed further. Megan Champion was introduced from the bench for Jody Wells, as the game eventually resumed.
The second half got underway but took a good ten minutes or so to settle with both sides producing fouls and a number of players going down with injuries as a result.
Lowestoft were first to hit the target in the second half, as the outstanding Natasha Thomas forced the keeper into producing an excellent save to deny her another goal.
Sudbury to be fair had come out with more tempo in their play and were pushing Lowestoft back more than they had in the first half and with a ball from midfield putting in the number 7 it was a race between the keeper and the player, with the number 7 winning and guiding it home to reduce the arrears to 4-1 (62 mins).
Lowestoft opted for some fresh legs at this point as Danielle Willmott and Sian Manthorpe came on for Georgia Paul and Amber Rowland. The changes didn't disrupt the rhythm or flow in the Lowestoft play though and with seventy minutes on the board a fifth goal was added with Kate Pasque getting on the end of a free-kick and sending Lowestoft 5-1 ahead (70 mins).
In hot conditions and being four goals ahead Lowestoft could have been excused for easing off a little but they were in no mood to do so and were hungry for more goals. If not for a number of great saves by the Sudbury keeper then Lowestoft and Natasha Thomas would have added to their total, as they kept up the pressure on Sudbury.
As the final ten minutes were entered Lowestoft continued to excel and topped off a fine performance with a sixth goal, as Natasha Thomas sent a great cross in from the right corner and the small statured Broghan Scully met it perfectly in the area to head home with style for 6-1 (82 mins).
The final whistle sounded and the players were delighted with the result and showed the great team spirit within as every player went across to check on their team mate Jody Wells and wish her all the best as she left by ambulance.
This really was a very good team performance in which every player knew exactly what was expected of them, not only when in possession but also when Sudbury had the ball.
Every player deserves a round of applause but there were three in particular who stood out today. The first of these was the quiet but no nonsense Marcie Prettyman, who continues to go from strength to strength at right back and takes no prisoners when tackling and defending for her side.
Then we had Chantelle Keevil who has moved to a new position this season, after moving from left back to left midfield in a role that allows her to use the strength and pace she possesses to full effect. On several occasions she exposed the defence and got in behind to deliver dangerous balls in and across the Sudbury area.
Then we had today's Lady of the Match, Natasha Thomas, who I really can't speak highly enough of. She's a footballer who has it all; great balance, pace, skill, composure and an effortless style to her play. I have no doubts that Natasha Thomas will eventually and hopefully for Lowestoft, play at the very highest level in woman's football. Also with the right guidance and people around her she could potentially feature for England one day. A simply fantastic footballer and an honour for everyone at Lowestoft to see play.
Fantastic result and performance ladies!!