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Tractor Girls Win at Bridgwater United
Sunday, 12th Feb 2023 17:01 by Matt Makin

There was no trouble over Bridgwater for Ipswich Town Women with the Tractor Girls picking up three points following a 2-0 win in the south-west this afternoon to keep themselves in the promotion hunt.

Town manager Joe Sheehan made one enforced change to the side which drew 1-1 at Watford last weekend with skipper Bonnie Horwood returning to the side in defence in place of Maria Boswell, who missed out through illness, with youngster Leah Mitchell taking her place in the squad.

Ipswich started the game brightly, attacking down the right and winning an early corner. However, Bridgwater quickly looked to impose themselves and started to keep Town in their own half with the sandy pitch stifling Town’s passing game.

On 13 minutes the hosts created the first chance of the game, latching on to a long ball and forcing Town keeper Sarah Quantrill to make a save with her legs.

Town looked to push forward as the half progressed and on 19 Anna Grey slipped the ball through to Abbie Lafayette on the left, however, her cross towards striker Natasha Thomas took a deflection and was comfortably collected by Robins keeper Ellie Mitchell.

Shortly afterwards, Thomas went down clutching her knee and required treatment, but was able to rejoin the game when play resumed.

With the game becoming fairly agricultural, Town were limited to half-chances, playing balls into the box that were unable to find a blue shirt to connect with.

In the 38th minute, Bridgwater burst into the Blues’ box but Summer Hughes was able to clear the ball and a few minutes later Town were lucky not go behind following a scramble in the six-yard box following a Bridgwater corner, which was eventually cleared.

On 43, another Bridgwater corner forced Quantrill into a low save from a header and with the last kick of the half Town finally registered their first shot on target, a tame effort from Lucy O’Brien which Mitchell was able to scoop up at the near post.

Seven minutes after the restart, Town got themselves in front, O’Brien converting from the spot having won the penalty herself, the goal her second in consecutive league matches.

In an opposite reaction to the men’s team the previous day, the spot-kick got Ipswich up and running, seeing lots of the ball before doubling their lead on 64 minutes, Thomas scoring a header at the far post from a pinpoint O’Brien corner to take her total goals for the season in all competitions to 11.

The Tractor Girls dominated the game after that, going close on the 69th minute with Thomas putting Grey’s cross over the bar, before shooting over again a minute later after O’Brien found herself with the ball in space on the edge of the Bridgwater box.

Shortly after, Sheehan made his first change and replaced Sophie Peskett, who had been frustrated by excellent marking from Bridgwater, with Freya Godfrey.

Town continued to push for a third goal and on 80 minutes defender Megan Wearing played a lovely ball over the top to Grey, who couldn’t quite beat keeper Mitchell in a foot race to the ball on the edge of the box, before Sheehan made another change with Brooke Cairns replacing goalscorer O’Brien to make her Ipswich Town debut.

Four minutes later Godfrey had the ball in the back of the net from a Lafayette cross, but was flagged offside.

Soon after, Horwood went close from a free-kick on the edge of the box, with Mitchell tipping the ball around the post for a corner.

As the game progressed to its conclusion, Bridgwater were reduced to 10 players after defender Charlotte Buxton was sin-binned following a foul on Grey.

Town were able to see the game out, with Sheehan bringing on Nia Evans and Leah Mitchell for Horwood and King in the dying minutes.

With league rivals Oxford, Portsmouth and Watford all picking up wins elsewhere, Town secured a vital three points for the race for top spot ahead of a weekend off, before returning to league action at home for the first time since October against Watford.

Town: Quantrill, Horwood (Evans 90+1), Wearing, Lafayette, Hughes, Robertson, King (Mitchell 90+1), Grey, O’Brien (Cairns 81), Peskett (Godfrey 70), Thomas. Unused: Meollo.

Photo: ITFC

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dangerous30 added 17:31 - Feb 12
Well done ladies

BABLUE added 17:42 - Feb 12
Well done, that's very good Half Man Half Biscuit knowledge there Phil.

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