Ladies Extend Unbeaten Run
By Web Master
After two weeks of inactivity, Acle United regained third place in the league, with a 5-2 victory at home to Peterborough Northern Star.
On a chilly afternoon, Acle kicked off with a stiff breeze at their backs and mounted the first attack of the game. Hoy won a corner and from the set-piece, Brister saw her attempt go wide of the goal. At the other end, a run through the centre was unchallenged until a timely interception by Larkins cleared the danger.
Aided by the wind, the hosts were able to pin Star deep into the own half and Rowland had a shot well held by the keeper, before Leach saw an effort blocked before being cleared. However, despite their dominance the away keeper was rarely troubled with efforts on goal.
Just before the half-hour mark, Pasque went down after a clash of heads and after lengthy treatment for a swelling above the eye was replaced by Birchall, who made an instant impact on the game. Running on to a cross-field ball over the Star defence, Birchall fired past the keeper to give Acle a 1-0 lead, then completed her brace within 2 minutes after Cooper had found Rowland in space in midfield, with time to thread a ball through the Star defence for Birchall to slot the ball into an unguarded net.
The visitors attempts on goal were minimal with the home defence mopping up most attacks, although Bell was forced into action when claiming a cross-cum-shot 5 minutes before the break. The final action of the half saw Bullard capitalise on some hesitancy in the Star defence, but a good covering tackle prevented the Acle wide player from getting a shot on goal, as the hosts took a 2-goal lead into the interval.
Star almost pulled a goal back within 2 minutes of the restart, with a volley after a long kick by the keeper, which grazed the cross-bar. At the other end, there were loud appeals for a penalty from the Acle players after Birchall appeared to be bundled over in the box, however the referee waved the appeals away. However, on 50 minutes the hosts stretched their lead, with Leach on her debut scoring from a Birchall cross.
Despite the scoreline, the visitors started to force Acle to defend deep in their own half and reduced the deficit with a long range shot which flew past Bell into the top corner of the goal, before a free-kick conceded by the hosts 25 yards from goal was tipped over the bar by Bell.
As the half progressed, play became stretched with both keepers being forced into good saves. Birchall forcing the away keeper into an excellent save from Cooper’s cross, while Bell did well to tip a long shot over the bar.
Star should have made it 3-2 with 25 minutes remaining after a free-kick crashed against the bar with the rebound headed wide from 5 yards out in front of the goal.
However, it was the hosts who increased the lead with Cooper playing the perfect through ball to Birchall to complete her hat-trick to put Acle 4-1 ahead and it was almost 5-1 when Cooper was brought down on the edge of the area with Rowland’s free-kick coming back off the cross=bar before being cleared upfield.
The latter stages saw Acle gain the upper hand with Birchall and Kindred forcing the Star keeper into good saves, before Shields blasted the ball home from Rowland’s low corner for Acle’s fifth.
On the stroke of fulltime, Bell was beaten for a second time but it was the hosts who secured a well-deserved thee points.
Acle United Women: A Bell, N Cooper, O Mungham-Gray, K Pasque, C Shields, A Larkins, L Bullard, A Rowland, R Brister, E Leach, M Hoy. Subs used: G Parker, K Kindred, G Birchall.