Luton Town Ladies – 0
Enfield Town Ladies – 2
Luton Town Ladies were beaten by two first half strikes on Tuesday night at a floodlit Kenilworth Road, by a very well organised Enfield Town side that got their goals and then spent the rest of the game happily defending what their hosts threw at them whilst occasionally threatening to add to their tally. If a small lapse of concentration was to fault for the first goal, the second came from some very quick thinking by the Enfield skipper Nuala McKevitt who intercepted a goal kick and very quickly arrowed a return into the top corner giving Luton keeper Angelika Kopec no chance whatsoever. A healthy crowd turned out to cheer on the Bedfordshire women on what was a rather chilly evening but they were beaten by a team that showed far more experience than the youthful looking side hosting them in this FA Women’s National League fixture.
An early Enfield cross from their left by full back Danielle Smith saw Kopec warm her hands before any danger materialised, at the other end Jess McKay got the better of her marker to send a fierce drive towards the near post which saw Enfield custodian Caoime O’Reilly having to get down well to smoother. A Luton corner then broke down and the ball shifted up the opposite end very quickly, just to the right of goal striker Molly Peters fired across goal forcing a fine two handed save from Kopec, followed by Eliza Diaz cutting across the eighteen yard line and forcing the home keeper down to her near post to block.
Luton won a free kick some twenty yards from goal for which Zara Carroll took responsibility, lofting the ball over the Enfield penalty area it eluded everyone to bounce away for a goal kick, and just as the game seemed to be panning out fairly even the visitors scored twice inside eleven minutes to floor their hosts. The first on twenty-one minutes came via a good run down the left channel, as it looked like space would evaporate the ball was pulled back into the box where Sasha Kelly lifted across the goal face and into the top corner.
Just past the half hour mark a poor clearance from the home side only found McKevitt thirty yards from goal, looking up and spotting Kopec slightly to the right of goal she hit the perfect drive into the opposite top corner. Luton then had the better of the remainder of the first period, Dionne Manning worked tirelessly down the flank to set up McKay who fired over the crossbar, ahead of a goal mouth melee that saw Enfield defenders throwing themselves in front of shots to block to ensure their lead was kept intact.
Manning again did well out wide to send Rachel Kosky down the left and into the box, she squared into the middle where Aurora Ryan was inches away from connecting although a raised flag eventually stooped play, before a great one-two saw McKay collect a pass back from Kosky who got away inside her marker to head for goal, rather than shoot she squared where it was cleared for a throw, that was launched into the box finding its way up to Erica Byron who opted to chest down but the ball bounced out for a goal kick before she could shoot. H/T: 0-2
A throw to Enfield deep inside the Luton half at the start of the second half saw McKay slide in to tackle and win possession, she sent the ball long down the left channel for Manning to scamper after & although losing her marker she was heading away from goal when she tried a delicate chip over O’Reilly which with a lack of height only found her waiting gloves, and moments later the same combination worked again to see Manning fed in behind the backline where she drove first time over the crossbar.
Just past the hour mark McKay seized upon a loose ball in the middle of the pitch and driving forward she fired straight at the keeper, moments later a ball laid across the eighteen yard line saw Byron screw her effort away from the intended target. Whenever the hosts looked as though they were on the verge of getting back into the game their guests reminded them of their potential to score again, a superb four pass move saw them feed Peters to the left of goal and her top corner bound shot was brilliantly tipped away by Kopec.
A seventieth minute corner to the away side saw Sheryce Slater fizz her cross right through a congested six yard box yet somehow no one got a touch and it rolled harmlessly away for a goal kick, whilst a Luton throw from Kosky found McKay inside the penalty arc but she could only fire over the top. Some superb defending then kept the scoreline intact when Kosky down the right aimed for the centre where there were three orange shirts waiting but a last gasp sliding block from Claire Ford managed to divert for a corner.
As Luton looked to be getting some serious pressure going two serious injuries disrupted the flow of play, first Enfield then the hosts lost a player each after lengthy treatment on the pitch, once play was back underway substitute Naomi Stirling latched onto a ball over the visiting defence but off balance and going away from goal she could only direct straight at O’Reilly. In the dying moments of the game Enfield went close twice, firstly when Peters fired wide then Katherine Long firing across goal and narrowly wide of the back post with Kopec struggling to cover. F/T: 0-2
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