Lowestoft Ladies 3 AFC Dunstable 2
Lowestoft Ladies play nearly the whole game with ten after an early sending off but battle to a 3-2 win against an unlucky AFC Dunstable
Lowestoft ladies started their league campaign on Sunday by welcoming newly promoted AFC Dunstable to the Crown Meadow. With seven players unavailable due to injury and holiday, it meant there was only fourteen players available for Lowestoft. Worse was to happen when inside two minutes keeper Chloe Pierce was sent off following a totally accidental collision just outside the penalty area. Both sets of management thought the decision was very harsh and the Lowestoft keeper was distraught at the punishment meted out to her for what was a totally innocuous challenge.
Needing to quickly adapt and adjust to playing with ten players, Lowestoft showed great character and looked to have gone ahead on twenty minutes when Natasha Thomas fired home from just inside the area but the referee made another contentious decision by pulling back play to award Lowestoft a free kick. However, the opening goal came on twenty-eight minutes when Zoe Cossey, who only turned sixteen a few weeks ago, played a great through pass which dissected the Dunstable defence and allowed Natasha Thomas to show her finishing prowess as she rifled home from just inside the area to give Lowestoft a deserved 1-0 lead.
Seven minutes later a well weighted pass from Megan Cletheroe put Zoe Cossey through and she too showed her finishing skills to give Lowestoft a well deserved 2-0 lead at the interval.
Lowestoft came out strong in the second half, looking for that all important third goal and twice in the first few minutes Natasha Thomas was denied by the keeper and then when clean through was flagged offside for what appeared to be a very debatable offside decision.
It was the visitors who reduced the arrears on the hour mark though, when the Lowestoft defence failed to clear their lines and the Dunstable striker cleverly chipped the advancing Amy Bell in goal to make it 2-1. Dunstable now buoyed by their goal enjoyed their best passage of play but it was Lowestoft who struck back when the referee waved play on despite ignoring the linesman flagging for offside and Natasha Thomas fired her effort into the roof of the net to make it 3-1.
Amber Rowland then hit the bar five minutes later and two minutes after that Zoe Cossey missed from close range as Lowestoft looked to try and put the game in safe keeping.
With eight minutes left a superb curling shot from the Dunstable skipper made it 3-2 and left Lowestoft needing to hold on to their slender advantage as they started to tire. Lowestoft held on gallantly though, despite an inexplicable twelve minutes of stoppage time.
This was a result which typified the character and tenacity of the Lowestoft team and all fourteen players deserve immense praise for such a spirited performance and a thoroughly deserved win.
Player of the Match:- Zoe Cossey; who despite being only just sixteen has already showed she has all the right attributes to do really well at this level.
A special mention also goes to captain courageous, Kate Pasque who played despite feeling unwell.