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Tractor Girls Beaten By Hashtag
Wednesday, 6th Sep 2023 22:23 by Matt Makin

Town’s first game under lights this season ended in defeat with the Tractor Girls beaten 3-2 by newly-promoted Hashtag United at the Parkside Stadium, Aveley this evening.

Joe Sheehan made one change to the team that had comprehensively beaten Plymouth at the weekend with Ruby Doe replacing an injured Nia Evans in midfield.

The home side started strongly and were immediately on the attack, and took the lead on three minutes, Gemma Baker scoring from close range after goalkeeper Poppy Soper was unable to hold on to the ball from a prone position.

The early goal rocked Ipswich but they were straight up the other end of the pitch from the restart, Lenna Gunning-Williams unable to get her shot away under good pressure from the Hashtag defence.

Town won a corner soon after, with the resulting headed effort coming off the post and going out for a goal-kick. A minute later, Gunning-Williams was able to thread through Doe in the box but her shot went wide.

Both sides looked dangerous in possession and on 10 minutes Doe latched on to a loose back header and drove into the box, only to see her sideways pass snuffed out by a robust defensive effort.

As the half wore on, Hashtag moved into the ascendancy, overrunning Town in midfield and marking Sophie Peskett and Gunning-Wililams out of the game. The Blues saw less of the ball but were still a threat going forward, but were unable to carve out any real chances.

Hashtag, however, were looking very dangerous in the Town box and Soper was forced to tip Sammy Rowland’s deflected shot out for a corner just before the half-hour mark.

Town were forward again soon after, Summer Hughes finding Gunning-Williams in space on the left but her low cross was well-held by goalkeeper Frankie Angel.

On 39 minutes, Hashtag doubled their lead, Rowland picking up an attacking throw and sending a rocket from the edge of the box and past Soper.

Town, as before, were on the offensive immediately the game resumed and had a corner in injury time. Following a goalmouth scramble after the set-piece delivery, there were several cries from Town players that the ball had crossed the line, but the referee remained unmoved.

Sheehan made a tactical substitution at half-time, replacing Leah Mitchell with Maisy Barker and moving to a more fluid defence, four at the back out of possession and three on the ball with Hughes and Barker alternating in pushing forward in attack.

The change quickly paid dividend and five minutes after the restart, Town pulled a goal back. Gunning-Williams was able chip the ball to Doe in the Hashtag box, who was able to cut the ball back for an incoming Natasha Thomas to stab home at the back post to make it 2-1 and give Town a lifeline in the game.

Ipswich immediately piled on the pressure and looked for an equaliser, dominating the next 25 minutes of play.

Six minutes after the goal, midfielder Kyra Robertson sent Barker in on the right to shoot wide and a few minutes later Boswell’s free-kick into the box was put just wide by Thomas.

Soon after, some neat hold-up play from Hughes on the left brought in Gunning-Williams, whose rasping shot from distance was well saved by Angel.

On 69, there was the first of two significant periods of stoppage, first for an injury to Megan Wearing after a Town corner. shortly after play resumed, the ref had to bring the game to a halt after a Hashtag player was hit by Soper’s clearance at close range.

The interruptions clearly stalled Ipswich’s momentum and on 78 minutes Hashtag restored their two-goal advantage. Town failed to clear their lines from an attack down their left, Wearing mistiming her challenge and failing to snuff out a pass to Malika Apindia on the edge of the box who coolly fired home.

Sheehan made further changes on 83 minutes, replacing Thomas and Wearing with Holly Turner and Evie Williams.

Town pushed to get back in the game but struggled to break down an organised Hashtag defence. However, five minutes into a long stoppage period the Blues were presented with another opportunity to get back in the game, winning a penalty from a handball which skipper Bonnie Horwood calmly buried, with Angel left rooted to the spot.

Town, energised by reducing the deficit again, pushed during the remaining eight minutes of time added on, with home fans urging the ref to end the game, but were unable to find the equaliser before the final whistle blew.

Ipswich can have no complaints with the result with Hashtag executing their game plan well to score early and stifle Town for large swathes of the first half.

The half-time switch helped bring the Tractor Girls back into the game with an early second-half goal, but the away side failed to capitalise on a dominant period after that, before losing impetus due to the injury stoppages.

Ipswich Town Women are back on the road this weekend, travelling to Stadium MK to face MK Dons on Sunday, before returning to the AGL a week later to take on London Bees.

Starting XI: Soper, Boswell, Mitchell (Barker 46), Wearing (Williams 83), Hughes, Horwood, Robertson, Peskett, Doe, Gunning-Williams, Thomas (Turner 83). Unused Subs: Hartley, Smith. Att: 171.

Photo: ITFC

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Len_Brennan added 08:15 - Sep 7
Disappointing result for Town. They will have been dancing in the streets of Hastag last night in celebration.

wischip added 16:16 - Sep 7
I wonder if there will be anything on social media about this.

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