Second Half Display Secures The Points
Acle United Women moved into fourth place in the league after defeating previously unbeaten Royston Town 4-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts were forced to make 2 changes to their starting line-up from last weeks victory against Norwich City with Mungham-Gray and Flatt replacing Larkins and Rowland.
On a cold and damp afternoon, the first attack of the game came from Acle with Flatt shooting wide after a clever back-heel from Birchall. The visitors first effort on goal came from a free-kick after Acle had handled just outside the area, but Bell in the Acle goal was equal to the task saving comfortably.
Play was very stretched in the opening stages; Birchall’s cross flashed across the goal area with no home forward unable to get a touch, then a quick counter-attack saw Acle concede a corner which was headed clear by Todd.
As the half progressed, most of the pressing was coming from the home side, but not testing the Royston keeper. Cooper sent Todd free through the centre, but the latter’s shot as high and wide.
Scully found herself in the referee’s notebook on 25 minutes for a tackle, although it appeared to be a little bit of retribution after being felled by the same player a minute beforehand.
Just after the half hour mark it was Royston’s turn to have the better of the play and Bell was forced to palm the ball away from a dangerous cross, then another testing cross landed on the roof of the net, before Bell was glad to see a shot at her near post hit the side netting.
The final act of the half saw Flatt brought down after winning possession in midfield. From Scully’s free kick. there was a goalmouth scramble before the ball was hooked clear by the visitors as the sides went into break goalless.
It was almost a mistake by the Royston keeper that nearly gifted the lead in the opening minute of the second half when missing her kick on receiving a back pass, but she was able to recover and clear the ball. Just a minute later, she kept out Birchall with a good save at her near post.
All the pressure at the stage was coming from the hosts and they deservedly took the lead on 53 minutes. From a throw-in by Cooper, Kindred crossed the ball from the by-line and Mungham-Gray chested the ball home to put Acle 1-0 up. Kindred almost doubled the lead a minute later, but saw her shot just go wide of the post.
However, Acle increased their lead 4 minutes later. Todd crossing from the by-line found Mungham-Gray, who laid the ball to Birchall and her first time shot found the corner of the goal. Royston almost pulled a goal back immediately afterwards, but Bell produced a fine save tipping the bar over the bar from a long-range shot.
Midway through the half, Scully was fouled around 30 yards out from goal and Flatt’s free-kick into the goal area saw a collision between the Royston keeper and Pasque, who after lengthy treatment was unable to continue and was replaced by Parker in the centre of the Acle defence.
The home side increased the lead with 13 minutes of normal time remaining. A quick short corner to Mungham-Gray saw the latter bundled over in the penalty-area and Birchall fired home the spot kick to complete her brace and put Acle firmly in control.
After a period of play where neither side were having any clear-cut chances, Bell was forced to save with her legs after a long ball set free the Royston winger, but that was only the real attack the visitors mounted during the second half.
Five minutes before time Todd made it 4-0 scoring from an acute angle and Acle comfortably saw out 8 minutes of added time to avenge an earlier defeat at Royston.
Acle United Women: A Bell, N Cooper, L Goodfield, B Scully, K Pasque, C Shields, G Birchall, M Todd, R Brister, C Flatt, O Mungham-Gray. Subs used: K Kindred, G Parker, R Filby. Unused L Bailey, C Fullbrook.