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Tractor Girls Return to Top After Victory at Crawley
Sunday, 19th Mar 2023 17:30 by Matt Makin

Ipswich Town Women extended their unbeaten league run to eight games with a comfortable 4-1 away win at Crawley Wasps and, with previous leaders Oxford's game at Watford postponed, are back on top of the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.

Tractor Girls manager Joe Sheehan made three changes to the side which beat London Bees 3-0 at the AGL Arena a week ago with Summer Hughes, Kyra Robertson and Nia Evans replacing Sophie Peskett, Eloise King and Lucy O’Brien, with Peskett and King both making the bench.

Ipswich started the game brightly, creating a chance in the opening minute when Sarah Brasero-Carriera played Anna Grey into the area, but the winger was unable to beat Wasps keeper Erhabor to the ball.

A minute later, a mistake from Erhabor presented Evans with a shot on an open goal, but was able to scramble back and save her blushes.

On the fifth minute, Town opened their account for the afternoon, defender Megan Wearing’s long ball evading the Crawley defence and finding Grey, who smashed the ball across the face of goal to nestle in the bottom of the net.

The Blues continued to dominate possession, passing the ball well, and on 14 minutes Brasero-Carreira blasted over from distance.

A few minutes later, a rare mistake from Robertson saw the hosts look to break through on goal, but the midfielder was able to recover and put Crawley under pressure with the resultant shot being comfortably held by Town stopper Sarah Quantrill.

On 19 minutes Ipswich doubled their lead. Erhabor could only palm Abbie Lafayette’s free-kick away into the path of Brasero-Carreira, who was able to square to Godfrey to slot home.

Having taken an early and commanding lead, the Tractor Girls sat off Crawley, which allowed them to dictate the game and make some speculative attacks on Town’s goal.

The Blues almost added a third just before half-time, but no blue shirts were able to get on the end of a sumptuous Godfrey cross into the area.

Town made their first change during the break, Peskett replacing Evans in midfield.

The second half continued the pace of the first with Brasero-Carreira having the ball in the back of the net but adjudged to have been offside, before Crawley won a penalty which Tosh Nicholls was able to coolly slot home, sending Quantrill the wrong way.

Having conceded their first league goal since Watford in February, Town quickly woke up and worked hard to restore their two-goal cushion. They almost immediately scored from the restart, Erhabor stopping the ball with her legs after a close-range effort from Peskett.

Three minutes later, Wearing headed just wide from a set piece, but on 56 minutes, Town went 3-1 up after Bonnie Horwood smashed the ball into the top right corner from a free-kick on the edge of the box.

The Blues continued to apply pressure to the beleaguered hosts, Wearing having a superb shot saved by Erhabor on 60 minutes, before the Crawley keeper was called into action two minutes later to tip a stinging shot from Hughes over the bar.

Moments later, Lafayette headed the ball on to the post from a Godfrey cross and shortly after, Town saw a strong penalty shout waved away by the referee after Peskett was tripped just after bursting into the box with the ball at her feet.

On 66 minutes, Sheehan made further changes with Natasha Thomas replacing Godfrey at the top of the pitch.

Ipswich continued to create chances, taking several shots from distance. As the game entered the last ten minutes, the Tractor Girls turned the screw, Peskett crashing the ball off the post following a short corner routine.

Town made their final changes on 83 minutes with King and Holly Turner replacing Horwood and Brasero-Carreira, with King taking the captain’s armband for the remainder of the game.

Three minutes later Lafayette had another attempt on goal, Erhabor only clearing the ball as far as Peskett who then shot wide. Shortly after, Erhabor required treatment for a leg injury but was able to continue.

Town added a fourth goal deep into time added on, Thomas holding the ball up before playing it round the corner to Peskett, who crossed the ball in for substitute King to slam home first time.

Overall, the Blues were comfortable winners, reacting well to Crawley pulling a goal back from the spot early in the second half and continuing to attack until the final whistle.

With the fixture between promotion rivals Watford and Oxford called off due to a waterlogged pitch, the victory sees the Tractor Girls move back to the summit of the table and keeps the pressure on their competitors as the season heads towards its conclusion.

Ipswich Town Women are back in action next Sunday with a trip to Gillingham Women.

Town: Quantrill, Boswell, Wearing, Lafayette, Hughes, Horwood (Turner 83), Robertson, Grey, Evans (Peskett 45), Brasero-Carreira (King 83), Godfrey (Thomas 66). Unused Subs: Meollo.

Photo: Ross Halls

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Help added 07:37 - Mar 20
Well done ladies, just got to sort out that darn Oxford

dangerous30 added 08:38 - Mar 20
Well done ladies

Razor added 10:41 - Mar 20
Great stuff girls and well done----that Oxford game on April 2 is looking bigger and bigger!!

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