Tractor Girls’ Title Hopes Suffer Further Blow After Draw With Chichester & Selsey
Sunday, 10th Apr 2022 19:13 by Matt Makin
The Tractor Girls’ title hopes suffered another blow this afternoon when they were held to a disappointing 1-1 home draw by Chichester & Selsey, a Lucy O’Brien equaliser canceling out the visitors’ early goal and all but confirming their relegation from the FA WNL Southern Premier Division.
Manager Joe Sheehan made two enforced changes to the side that lost to title rivals Southampton last week, bringing in Maria Boswell and Kyra Robertson for Summer Hughes and Zoe Barratt, both away on international duty. All-time leading goal scorer Natasha Thomas was handed a start to make her 150th appearance for the club.
Town started the game strongly but found themselves behind after eight minutes when a failure to clear a Chichester & Selsey foray into their half allowed the ball to bounce up nicely for Amelia Hammond to cleanly strike towards goal, with Blues goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill unable to get a hand to it.
Going a goal behind was compounded on 13 minutes when Paige Peake was booked and sin-binned for 10 minutes for dissent after venting her frustration to the referee for not playing the advantage after a foul on a Town player.
Chichester & Selsey, knowing that nothing less than a win would keep their hopes of avoiding relegation to the fourth tier alive, pressed their player advantage until Peake returned to the field on 23 minutes and thereafter defended resolutely and limited Town’s chances to get back on level terms.
The only real chances of note came on 28 minutes when Eloise King’s strong shot from the edge of the box was pushed out for a corner and the resulting set piece saw Blues skipper Bonnie Horwood shoot wide from a similar position to King.
Town went into the half-time break behind, having been the better side yet struggling to break down Chichester & Selsey after their early goal.
The ebb and flow of the game had also been broken up by some overly officious refereeing, with many Town fans left perplexed by the use of the rarely seen sin bin punishment for Peake’s dissent early in the half.
As expected, Town piled on the pressure straight from the restart, forcing a succession of corners that were well defended by the visitors – Thomas going close with a header over the bar from the final corner of this flurry.
Chichester & Selsey continued to sit back and absorb Town’s pressure, restricting the hosts to half-chances and taking opportunities to slow the game down wherever possible. On 68 Sheehan made a double substitution, Lucy Egan and Eva Hubbard replacing Smith and Robertson.
Town continued to work to find an equaliser and were finally rewarded for their efforts on 77 minutes, O’Brien getting her head on the end of an Abbie Lafayette cross to bamboozle Chichester & Selsey goalkeeper Sadie Blakely, who could only push the ball into the roof of the net as she scrambled back to try and clear the ball.
Town maintained their pressure and won a late corner on 89 minutes which was headed over by Egan, before a Boswell cross in injury time went straight to Blakely.
The referee ended the game shortly after with Chichester & Selsey’s hopes of avoiding the drop all but extinguished, now only at best being able to draw level with Cardiff on 24 points with the Bluebirds having a game in hand and a superior goal difference.
The Tractor Girls will be disappointed with their start to the game, which allowed Chichester & Selsey to sit back and dictate the play from an early period, despite Town being the better side on the pitch for the majority of the game.
With title rivals Southampton beating basement team Hounslow 5-0, Town drop to second in the table one point behind the Saints who have two games in hand.
The Blues’ promotion hopes, already dented by the previous week’s, have taken a further blow and they now need to win their remaining three fixtures and hope that Southampton drop points in their own run-in to stand any chance of securing the league title and a berth in the promotion play-off with the winners of the FA WNL Northern Premier Division.
Town: Quantrill, Boswell, Peake, Smith (Egan 68), Lafayette, Gray, Horwood, King, O’Brien, Robertson (Hubbard 68), Thomas. Unused: Meollo, A Jackson. Attendance: 249.
Photo: Ross Halls
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
|TractorBeezer added 20:19 – Apr 10
Hard luck ladies. You can win the next three!
|ringwoodblue added 20:50 – Apr 10
It’s been a great season for the ladies but just like the men, they will have to go again next season
|heavyweight added 22:46 – Apr 10
It seems very tough to move up the ladder. Only the champions going into the playoff, and no guarantee of promotion
You need to login in order to post your comments