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Tractor Girls' Title Hopes Hit After Defeat to Saints
Sunday, 3rd Apr 2022 17:07 by Matt Makin

Southampton put themselves in the driving seat for the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division title with a 2-1 victory over the Tractor Girls at the Goldstar Ground, two quick-fire goals from the Saints in the second half stunning the Blues, who had taken the lead in the first via a Paige Peake penalty.

Town boss Joe Sheehan made four changes to the team that won against Plymouth Argyle the previous week with Zoe Barratt, Anna Grey, Summer Hughes and Olivia Smith coming in for Maria Boswell, Lucy Egan, Eva Hubbard and Silvana Flores, the latter missing from the squad due to injury along with Maddie Biggs, who had yet to recover from the knock she picked up in the warm-up the previous Sunday.

Both teams, as expected, started strongly knowing a victory would put them in a commanding position ahead of the run-in. Both Town and Southampton tested each other’s defences with no real chances of note with the Blues looking the most threatening from set pieces.

Ipswich broke the deadlock deep into the first half, winning a penalty on 35 minutes, Grey having being fouled in the box after getting on the end of a long ball from Abbie Lafayette and bursting through into an attacking position.

After some remonstrations from Saints’ keeper Kayla Rendell, Peake stepped up to the spot and calmly smashed the ball low and left to beat the keeper and open the scoring.

Town the comfortably managed the game out to the half-time break, having shaded the first 45 minutes against a strong Southampton side.

It was the Saints, however, that started the second half the strongest, rattling Town before Lucia Kendall picked up a failed clearance and lashed the ball across the face of goal to level the match on 51 minutes.

Southampton, buoyed on by a noisy contingent of their fans, then took the lead only four minutes later, breaking down the left before substitute Ella Pusey beating Sarah Quantrill at the far post.

Ipswich looked shellshocked by the sudden turnaround and Southampton looked to push their advantage, and by the time the Tractor Girls had regrouped the Saints were able to shut up shop and manage the game well with several players requiring treatment for a variety of knocks and cramp as the half went on.

Town only managed to create one real chance on 70 minutes, Lucy O’Brien holding the ball up well just outside the Southampton box before playing Grey through to cross from the left, however Rendall was able to rise above Natasha Thomas to claim the ball.

Sheehan attempted to change the game up with a triple substitution on 79 minutes, bringing on Maria Boswell, Sarah Brasero-Carreira and Kyra Robertson for King, O’Brien and Smith, having replaced Barratt with Lucy Egan on 67 minutes.

Although seeing more of the ball in the latter stages of the game, Southampton’s resolute defending meant Ipswich were able to do little with it before the referee brought the contest to an end after five additional minutes.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Town in their quest for promotion to the Women’s Championship, never really recovering from Southampton’s impressive start to the second half of the game.

The Tractor Girls remain at the top of the table, ahead of Southampton by a single point, however the Hampshire side have two games in hand and Town now need to both win their remaining matches, including stern tests at home against third-placed Oxford United and away to Portsmouth, as well as hope that the Saints drop points.

Town: Quantrill, Hughes, Peake, Smith (Robertson 79), Lafayette, Grey, Horwood, King (Boswell 79), O’Brien (Brasero-Carreira 79), Barratt (Egan 67), Thomas.Unused: Meollo. Attendance: 638.

Photo: Matchday Images

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Mark added 18:58 - Apr 3
It's been an excellent season for Ipswich Women, our first at this level. Southampton will surely go to the Play-Off final now and will probably get promoted, so without them in the league we can hopefully win it next season. The rules need to be amended so that the winners get automatically promoted!!

OwainG1992 added 19:57 - Apr 3
Being an Ipswich fan of the male or female team similar in its the hope that kills you!
Some achievement this campaign for matter what by the ladies.
Clubs going from strength to strength.

hrj4 added 22:05 - Apr 3
Do the ladies still have a chance of promotion as runners up?

bournemouthblue added 23:58 - Apr 3
It doesn't look like it, that's really not ideal only having one side going up

hrj4 added 10:30 - Apr 4
Thank you for the information Bournemouthblue.

slade1 added 11:28 - Apr 4
I think I'm right but even winning the league doesn't give you promotion.
The winner of the southern league then pays the winner of the northern league with the winners of that match getting promotion, which is so unfair.
Correct me if I'm wrong!

johnwarksshorts added 12:20 - Apr 4
Agree. Seems very unfair to be best team over 50 odd games then having a playoff for promotion.

johnwarksshorts added 12:21 - Apr 4
Sorry 20 odd games not 50.

harlingblue added 03:12 - Apr 5
The Tractor Girls are a pleasure to watch, and have done and are doing us proud, just a shame about Sunday's result against a Southampton team that should now go on to win the league?. It was a bad weekend for both our men and women's teams, both playing nice football, but without the killer threat, to make the keeper sweat, or even having to take a bath? Sorry to sound so negative, but we are on the right road for success with both teams, and perhaps next year, will be our year, with a double promotion! Onwards and upwards for both the teams!

runningout added 13:09 - Apr 5
Lose a bit better people. It's not that blooming horrendous. Onwards :-)

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