LTHC Ladies 1st XI 4 vs University of Nottingham Ladies 2nd XI 3

MRHAWL – Midlands Feeder East

Saturday 17th November 2018

***Result changed to a 4-0 win to Loughborough Town Ladies 1st XI***

In their final home league game of 2018, Loughborough Town Ladies 1st XI welcomed University of Nottingham Ladies’s 2nd XI, hoping to continue their momentum and run of top form. After a relatively straightforward 7-0 win at Newark last week, Town were aware that this week’s visitors would pose a strong threat.

From the whistle, it was Nottingham who held the majority of the possession; some fast forward players threatening to cause havoc amongst Town’s defensive line. Having not touched the ball last weekend, keeper Harriet Galpin found herself in the thick of the action from the off, producing some fine saves to protect Town’s goal. Under pressure, Town sat back and all hands were on deck in quashing Nottingham’s advances.

After 10 minutes, Emily Burgwin pounced on a loose ball in midfield and picked out Emily Hill on the half way line. Hill produced a blazing run down field towards the Nottingham goal, and taking the ball to an almost impossible angle, fired home past the flailing keeper. Revelling in the 1-0 lead largely against the run of play, Town pressed back as Nottingham continued their onslaught. Lucy Walden and Annie Piper’s hard work in the press paid dividends when Emily Burgwin was herself supplied with the ball. Showing great strength to survive some vicious tackles as she weaved her way around several players, Burgwin slammed the ball under the Nottingham keeper at close range for Town’s second of the morning. However, Nottingham’s hard work did not go unrewarded. A Town foot in the circle gifted the visitors a penalty corner and a smart deflection routine halved Town’s lead just minutes later. Just before the break, Town had the chance to pull one back; Georgina Godfrey setting up Emma Weir in the circle, only for the visiting keeper to scramble the ball away.

Knowing they had much more to give, Town came out stronger in the second half and enjoyed more of the possession. Intelligent play by the forward line drew a Nottingham foot in the circle and gave Town their first penalty corner of the game. In Town’s go-to routine, Shana Featonby slipped the ball to Ashleigh Godfrey, who fired the ball towards the goal – a stranded defender deflecting the ball high into the net to give the jubilant Town a 3-1 lead. However, the strong Nottingham side did not let their heads drop, and in a counter-attacking move of their own managed to slip the ball past Galpin to take the score to 3-2. Town struggled to cope with the pressure being applied by the visitors and with just 10 minutes to go, gave away a scrappy penalty corner. Although their first attempt on goal was saved, a second strike sailed agonisingly past the outstretched Galpin to draw the scores level at 3-3.

Town now found themselves in danger of losing as the visitors showed no sign of stopping. Claire Howard produced an incredible performance at full-back in the dying minutes to earn her player of the match; sweeping away several loose balls in the circle before Nottingham could strike again. A nervous few minutes followed, as Nottingham were awarded several more penalty corners, the last of which was dealt with by defender Izzie Limb who heroically played on despite a knock to the head. These close shaves only drove Town on; Emma Calvert made good head way up the wing and newly called-up Grace Thompson saw her shot blaze agonisingly wide. Just when it looked as if Town would have to settle for the draw, Katherine Laws took a quick free hit only to be fouled by a Nottingham player within 5 yards, giving the home side one last penalty corner. 

As the final whistle went, the entirety of the Town team surged up to the visitors’ circle for what would be the final play of the game, knowing it was now or never. The on-looking crowd fell silent as Shana Featonby stepped up to inject the ball for arguably the most important penalty corner routine this season. Yet again the ball was dragged to Ashleigh Godfrey who, with nerves of steel, took the faintest of touches before smashing the ball with all her strength at the Nottingham goal. It was as if time stood still for a moment before the ball hit the backboard with enough force to break it – Town had won the game 4-3 and Godfrey secured her joint player of the match status. In what can only be described as a Hollywood blockbuster ending, the Town players, bench and supporters celebrated wildly; a dramatic and fitting final home game of the year for a team that refuse to give in.

Town ladies celebrate Ashleigh Godfrey’s last-ditch  winner against University of Nottingham Ladies 2nd XI © Andy Smith

Town ladies celebrate Ashleigh Godfrey’s last-ditch winner against University of Nottingham Ladies 2nd XI. © Andy Smith

Ladies 1st XI Winning Team © Andy Smith

Back row (L-R) Emily Burgwin, Lucy Walden, Emily Hill, Hannah McCleery, Katherine Laws, Georgina Godfrey, Ashleigh Godfrey, Grace Thompson, Emma Weir.

Front row (L-R): Harriet Galpin, Annie Piper, Emma Calvert, Claire Howard, Shana Featonby , Izzie Limb.

© Andy Smith

Categories: Match Reports