Meridian Ladies 4 v 3 Newhaven Ladies
Scorers: Paige Ripley (2), Chloe Winchester
Newhaven Ladies fell to defeat against bottom of the table Meridian in awful conditions at the Victory Academy.
A gale blowing from one end of the pitch to the other which got stronger as the game went on made playing football very, very difficult for both teams in what was really ‘a game of two halves’.
The Dockers, missing several key players, started the match with the wind behind them and were immediately on the attack when Lauren Smith had a shot saved by the keeper.
However it wasn’t long before the Dockers took the lead after fifteen minutes when Chelsea Cook crossed to Paige Fowler who in turn set up Chloe Winchester for a tap in at the near post (0-1).
Paige Ripley then had a shot from outside the box well saved by the Meridian shot stopper but then did find the back of the net from Smith’s cross from inside the 6 yard box (0-2).
However on the break Meridian scored against the run of play when a long ball was won by the Meridian striker who outpaced the Newhaven defence who had a chance to clear but failed and the shot nestled in the bottom corner (1-2).
However minutes later Ripley pounced on a loose ball twenty five yards out and sent a long shot into the top corner to make it 1-3.
Smith then nearly added the fourth when her corner came back to her when cleared by the Meridian defence and the shot from the right bounced back off the bar and to safety.
As half time came the wind strengthened and now Meridian could have a go and push forward and so they did.
They got an early goal back from a long free kick which caught the wind and flew over Annie Hills (2-3) and then shortly after they got the equaliser when the Meridian strikers put the Dockers defence under pressure and won the ball and slid a shot across Hills into the far corner (3-3).
Smith then had a fine run down the left and cut in with a ferocious shot which the Meridian keeper did well to keep out then Winchester broke through and squared the ball to Ripley in space in the box but was flagged offside.
A bad injury to Maddie Cannon held the game up with ten minutes to play and with five to go meridian got the winner when again a wind assisted long ball put the Dockers under pressure and despite attempts to keep the ball out Meridian scored to take all three points (4-3).
Afterwards joint manager Andy Cook had this to say; ‘ that was a bitterly disappointing result but the conditions were terrible. The wind was strong first half but became ridiculous second half to the point where we couldn‘t kick it forward. However I am not going to use that as an excuse as I don’t think we did enough with the wind first half and conceded a poor goal which became very significant in the end. We didn’t play particularly well really and second half Meridian with the wind behind just had a bit more than us and we really struggled. When we did get the ball down and try and play it looked ok but we just couldn’t find the end product. We should have scored more first half and put the game to bed but we just didn’t really get going. It was a shame after two very good results and performances in the weeks before but that’s how football goes sometimes. Today we just weren’t quite good enough and we were missing a few players which didn’t help.’
Team: Annie Hills, Maddie Cannon, Paige Bashford-Robertson, Kerri Forshaw, Steph Harrison, Chelsea Cook, Paige Fowler (Tawny Barden), Lucy Collinson, Chloe Winchester, Paige Ripley, Lauren Smith