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Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies 2

Luton Town Reserves Ladies 0

John Greenacre Memorial Trophy, Round 2
The Robert Parker Stadium, Ashford
16th December 2012

Town’s Ladies team were in trophy action this week where they had been handed a home draw against Luton Town Reserves of the tier above.  Ashford’s plans were rocked a few hours before kick off when Shelby Keppel declared herself unavailable but thankfully Nicola Archer stepped in to partner Lucy Easton in attack with Kee Kee Kobus reverting to midfield alongside Marie Thomas flanked by Terri Harper and Amy Fry.  The defence remained unchanged from the week before with Charlotte McGregor, Kate Davies (Captain), Emily Hogg and Emma Dobell protecting Hannah Smith in goal.

Ashford started very well with Easton in particular looking lively and testing the keeper early on.  As expected, Luton were very dangerous on the break with pace and a physical presence but Hogg was keeping their number 11 under wraps with some excellent strong defending.  Midway through the half the score was opened when Easton was fed the ball by Harper on the right and unleashed an unstoppable strike from some 20 yards!  The home side continued to attack and despite one or two nervous moments at the back Smith was rarely troubled.  As the half drew to a close a freekick was awarded outside the penalty area down the ‘Tank End’, Archer took aim and fired a shot over the wall which rattled in off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-0.  Ashford sustained some pressure from their visitors but saw out the half without conceding.

The second half saw Luton come out of the blocks looking for an equaliser and for a period Ashford struggled to make inroads into their opposition’s half.  Smith looked like she had been keeping goal all her life as she came and claimed two corners and pulled off a remarkable save down to her left to deny the Luton 11 from close-range.  The match was also proving to be a physical encounter with Fry, Thomas, Harper and Easton all requiring treatment before being patched up and sent back out to finish the job.  Easton got a speculative shot off on one occasion and Dobell of all people found herself shooting from distance but in truth the half was edged by Luton but will be remembered for the determined, gritty performance from the team in tangerine stripes.  The back four stood firm, Smith raced off her line to smother another chance, Kobus and the struggling Thomas competed for everything, often aided by Archer who dropped in to help with Harper, Fry and Easton relieving the pressure whenever they got the ball.  On 49 minutes and 45 seconds the match referee finally signalled the end and a joyous Ashford celebrated a match they had doubted they were capable of winning before a ball was kicked.

There was no ‘Player of the Match’ this week as it was a genuine team performance with every single one of the players deserving the accolade.

Team: Smith, McGregor, Dobell, Hogg, Davies (c), Harper, Fry, Kobus, Thomas, Archer 1, Easton 1