Newhaven Ladies 1 v 1 Parkwood Rangers
Scorer: Lauren Smith
Newhaven Ladies picked up their first league point on the new year with a hard fought draw at the Trafalgar Ground against third placed Parkwood Rangers.
A first half breakaway goal from top scorer Lauren Smith was cancelled out before the break by the visitors as both teams had to settle for a point in an entertaining game.
Newhaven welcomed back Paige Ripley from long term injury with her first start since September and Ellie Coade was back on the bench for the second game running following her return after having a baby late last year.
The opening exchanges saw both teams battling for midfield supremacy with little clear cut chances created. Parkwood had shots from long distance which were comfortably dealt with by Annie Hills. Going forward the Dockers looked to move the ball wide and started creating problems down the left as Lauren Smith broke freely a couple of times sending in testing cross shots.
Smith then drove again down the left and cut in with her shot just landing on the top of the net.
However it wasn’t long after until Smith did break the deadlock as the Newhaven defence won the ball from a Parkwood attack and played the ball out up the right wing with Chelsea Cook finding Katie Franks. Franks exchanged passes with Ripley and crossed to the far post where Smith and Natalia Laszkiewicz had lots of space in the penalty area. Smith took a touch and sent a shot into the far corner as the Parkwood defence were rooted to the spot (1-0).
Another break from the Dockers soon after found Laszkiewicz turn her marker and play Ripley in but the final shot was blocked.
Parkwood started to respond and a corner was well cleared by Smith as the visitors looked for an equaliser. This came with ten minutes to go before half time.
Parkwood won the ball in midfield and split the home defence and allowed the striker to run through unchallenged on goal. She picked her spot with ease past Hills to make it 1-1.
Parkwood were now in the ascendancy and won another corner which had to be well headed away by Tasha Scorza. An injury to skipper Jas Godden meant Ellie Coade was introduced before the break as the Dockers got to half time all square.
A re-shuffle at half time due to Godden’s injury saw Maddie Cannon drop into defence and Coade and Scorza in midfield. This gave the Dockers a platform with Cook and Bashford-Robertson also making up the three at the back.
The game was very even with both sides battling well and having half chances. Smith had the first meaningful shot from the left which went just wide then Ripley had a shot blocked.
At the other end Parkwood broke down their right and a cross looked to hit the outstretched arm of Cook in the box but the penalty appeals were waved away.
A smart move from the home side followed when Duchossoy played a clever ball to Laszkiewicz who again outmuscled her marker and drove into the box only to see her shot hit the outside of the near post.
A Smith corner from the right created the next chance as the ball wasn’t cleared by the away side and as the ball bounced in the 6 yard box Franks turned it goal wards but it was hacked away when it looked like it had crossed the line.
Parkwood broke and moved up the pitch and it needed a last ditch tackle by Bashford-Robertson on the edge of the penalty area to prevent a clear scoring chance. It was then Cannon and Cook’s turn to get timely interventions as Parkwood looked to get in on goal.
Allana Lessels was introduced for Duchossoy as the home side looked to go for the winner.
A free kick twenty five yards out from Smith went just wide of the far post as the Dockers dominated the closing stages.
Another break down the left saw Smith skip past the full back and cross for Franks in the box. Franks took a touch and looked destined to score only for the brave Parkwood keeper somehow keep it out.
An almost identical chance soon followed in the dying moments of the game with another cross from Smith first finding Franks whose shot was saved and the follow up from Laszkiewicz was equally brilliantly saved by the Parkwood keeper to ensure both teams had to settle for a point.
After the game Alex Ladd (joint manager) was pleased with the response following last week’s performance ;’ After the disappointment of the Herne Bay loss we asked the ladies for a positive reaction and it’s fair to say they delivered. Our commitment to press the opposition and break up their play was excellent. In possession we showed good quality, especially in the second half. I felt we were very unfortunate to not get a winner in the last 15 minutes, that said the Parkwood keeper made some superb saves to deny us. Very happy with the point though and the performance. Quick mention to a couple of players who don’t often get the headlines, Natalia was very impressive as was Tasha in the middle of the park. Well done ladies .’
Andy Cook (joint manager) also was pleased with the reaction from the team;’ This was a much needed performance and a thoroughly deserved point. In fact we should have got all three especially with the chances we created in the last twenty minutes and the heroics of the Parkwood keeper. They could have had a penalty which we thought was clear handball but luckily the ref didn’t see it and perhaps that was payback for a very dubious penalty they got against us in the fixture before Christmas which killed us in that game. But really pleased by everyone today. It was a real team effort and we created some excellent chances and defended soundly, particularly second half. I thought we had a strong shout for a goal from the corner which looked like it crossed the line and then the double save at the end was brave and strong from the keeper. It’s fair to say we asked for a reaction after last week’s home drubbing against Herne Bay and we got it today.’
Team: Annie Hills, Katie Franks, Lauren Smith, Chelsea Cook, Jas Godden (c) (Ellie Coade), Paige Bashford-Robertson, Maddie Cannon, Tasha Scorza, Natalia Laszkiewicz, Paige Ripley, Elle Duchossoy (Allana Lessels)
Unused subs: Imy Sweeney, Sharnie Franks, Aimee Weeks