Birchall Thunderbolt Seals Derby Victory
After two weeks of inactivity, Acle United Women secured local bragging rights with a 1-0 victory at Wymondham Town on Sunday afternoon.
On a bitterly cold afternoon and with the wind at their backs, it was the hosts who had the better of the early stages, with attacks down the right flank, however, all crosses were comfortably held by Acle keeper Bell. Acle’s only real attack came from a run by Bullard down the left, but her pass inside was cut out by the Wymondham defence.
With 6 minutes played, only the cross-bar saved the visitors. A free-kick was awarded in line with the centre of the goal around 20 yards out and the set-piece came back off the woodwork with the rebound blocked by the Acle defence before being cleared.
However, it was the visitors who took the lead just 5 minutes later. Birchall winning the ball in the centre of the park, raced past her marker and fired an unstoppable shot past the home keeper into the roof of the goal to put Acle 1-0 up.
Buoyed by this Acle pushed forward and Birchall receiving a Larkins free-kick saw her shot tipped over the bar by the keeper but the referee awarded a goal-kick; then in their next attack, Bullard and Rowland combined down the left wing with the latter’s shot deflected out for a corner.
With both sides attacking their opponents at every opportunity, it was the hosts turn to put the visitors under pressure. Larkins had the be alert to cut out a dangerous cross-field ball, then Shields blocked a shot, before Bell made a good save at her near post from an attack down the right flank.
Birchall’s direct running was causing problems for the home defence and after receiving the ball from Scully, flicked the ball over the defender, only to see her shot deflected just past the far post. At the other end a shot from Wymondham hit the side netting, before Bell saved in the next home attack.
Cooper replaced Flatt for the visitors with 8 minutes of the half remaining and was in the thick of the action straightaway. Receiving a long ball from Bell, she crossed into the penalty-area with Acle appealing for handball which was waved away by the referee.
The half finished with Acle in the ascendancy, with both Cooper and Birchall having shots which were just wide of the target, as the visitors went into the break with a slender 1-0 lead.
Acle mounted the first attack of the second half with Todd putting Cooper away down the left flank, whose cross was headed out for a corner which was comfortably cleared, before another cross from Cooper was mis-headed by a defender and collected by the home keeper just under the bar.
A quick break from Wymondham saw the visiting defence hastily retreat and able to block a shot before a goalmouth scramble ensued which saw the ball eventually cleared for a throw-in. Bell was then called into action pushing a shot around the post for a corner which was cleared by Pasque.
As the half progressed, the tempo of the game slowed with play being condensed into the midfield and neither side testing their opposing keepers. The hosts having a couple of long shots which were well off target, whilst Birchall had the only shot for the visitors which didn’t test the home keeper.
In the closing minutes, Acle rang the changes with Parker, Kindred, Brister all coming on at various stages as the visitors comfortably saw the game out to take all three points in this tense local derby