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Tractor Girls Climb to Third After Beating Billericay
Wednesday, 1st Mar 2023 23:18 by Matt Makin

Freya Godfrey’s first-half penalty strike was the difference between Ipswich Town Women and Billericay Town Women as a tense, scrappy encounter under the lights at the AGL Arena ended 1-0 to the Blues earlier this evening.

Tractor Girls manager Joe Sheehan made three changes to the side that had beaten Watford at home on Sunday with Godfrey, Eloise King and Sophie Peskett replacing Lucy O’Brien ,Bonnie Horwood and Anna Grey in the starting line-up with the latter three players making the bench alongside former Billericay player Holly Turner, who had made her debut against the Golden Girls the previous game with a late cameo. Midfielder King took the captain’s armband.

As with the reverse fixture in Essex early in the season, Town’s first win of the campaign, the game began as a scrappy affair with the teams trading possession in the early minutes.

The Blues created the first chance in the eighth minute when defender Megan Wearing’s long ball almost found forward Natasha Thomas with Billericay goalkeeper Anna Pedersen just closing her out.

Billericay immediately broke forward from the restart with Wearing again involved to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick.

Two minutes later, Ipswich created another chance when Thomas was played through on goal by Peskett only for a last-ditch sliding tackle to take the ball away from her feet before she could get a shot away.

Shortly afterwards, roles were reversed with Peskett finding herself receiving the ball on the six-yard line from a Thomas cross only for it to bounce off her standing leg.

Town increased their possession of the ball as the half wore on but were sloppy in passing, giving the ball away under little pressure on several occasions.

The Tractor Girls still looked dangerous in attack, however, with Godfrey picking out Sarah Brasero-Carreira in the box on 19 minutes and Pedersen forced to push the ball out for a corner.

Town started to impose themselves on the game and on 24 minutes Maria Boswell was able to whip the ball across the face of goal, but with no blue shirt to get on the end of it, then soon after Peskett saw a shot blocked.

On 34 minutes, after a neat one-two with Brasero-Carreira, Peskett attempted a speculative cross-come-shot which went out for a Billericay goal-kick.

Town continued to look to open the scoring and on 37 minutes won a penalty after King, holding the ball up in the Billericay area with her back to goal, was bundled over.

In the absence of Horwood or O’Brien, Godfrey stepped up to the spot and smashed the ball low and right to put Ipswich in front at the end of a period of dominance, with Town controlling the game until the break.

Ipswich started the second half brightly, carving a chance in the first minute after the restart with Thomas crossing the ball towards Godfrey in the box, but Pedersen was again quick off her line to prevent a chance on goal.

Two minutes later, Town almost extended their advantage after Brasero-Carreira cut in and played a diagonal ball across the Billericay box with Thomas inches away from connecting.

On 57 minutes Town won another corner after Pedersen fumbled a tame shot from Godfrey out of play but the resultant set piece ended up hitting the side-netting.

Nine minutes later, Godfrey picked out Brasero-Carreira with a long ball, the midfielder racing through and forcing Pedersen into a diving save.

In the 69th minute, Sheehan made his first substitution of the match, replacing Kyra Robertson with Horwood. Shortly after, another Ipswich corner, delivered by Abbie Lafayette, was punched clear by Pedersen with the following scramble and shot wide adjudged to be offside.

Town won another corner almost immediately, this time swung in by Godfrey, with Pederson forced to push the ball on to the bar to stop her doubling her goal tally for the game.

Ipswich, in similar fashion to the weekend, effectively managed the game as it entered its latter stages.

On 81 minutes Sheehan made another change, replacing goalscorer Godfrey with Grey, who made an immediate impact with a pacy run down the left to make a cross to Brasero-Carreira, whose shot was blocked. Town’s third change was made on 86 minutes with Holly Turner coming on for Thomas, to face her former teammates.

Town continued to dictate play deep into injury time with Billericay limited to creating chances from niggly free kicks in the middle of the pitch. Blues’ blushes were saved in the second minute of injury time, however, when Billericay scuffed a shot wide after flashing a ball across the Ipswich area.

Sheehan made his final change two minutes later, replacing Brasero-Carreira with O’Brien shortly before the referee blew for full-time.

Despite a scrappy and sometimes nervy encounter, Ipswich were good for the win, securing back-to-back 1-0 home wins and climbing up to third in the table ahead of Watford, who did not play this evening, and moving within two points of league leaders Portsmouth with a game in hand. Town will be back in action at the AGL Arena this Sunday, entertaining ninth-placed Plymouth Argyle.

Town: Quantrill, Boswell, Wearing, Lafayette, Peskett, Robertson (Horwood 69), King, Hughes, Brasero-Carreira (O’Brien 90+4, Godfrey (Grey 81), Thomas (Turner 86). Unused: Meollo. Attendance: 291.

Photo: Ross Halls

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dangerous30 added 03:06 - Mar 2
Well done ladies

runningout added 12:20 - Mar 2

pennblue added 10:17 - Mar 3
Interesting looking run in for the Ladies - Oxford home could be a cracker, but they need to do the business in the other fixtures that look easier 'on paper'

Razor added 11:06 - Mar 3
Brilliant result-----I know Oxford ruined it for us last season so can we return the favour?

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