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Ipswich Town Women 2-0 Chatham Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 23rd Mar 2024 16:06

Goals from Natasha Thomas and Sophie Peskett have given Ipswich Town Women a 2-0 half-time lead over Chatham Town in their first ever league game at Portman Road.

Manager Joe Sheehan made one change from the team which lost 4-2 at Portsmouth a fortnight ago with Lucy O’Brien replacing Ruby Doe in midfield.

Midfielder Eloise King, who has been out since the end of last season due to a back injury, returned to the bench.

Chatham Town, second bottom without a win all season, were unable to play on-loan Town forward Holly Turner against her parent club.

The Blues started on the front foot, O’Brien forcing Chatham keeper Simone Eligon into a sharp save with a shot from the edge of the box in the second minute.

From the resultant corner, the ball dropped to Evie Williams eight yards out but her effort wafted over.

Two minutes later, Eligon, who had had a busy start to the match, did well to thwart Town’s on-loan Tottenham forward Lenna Gunning-Williams after a left-sided corner had fallen to her at the near post.

The Blues continued to dominate and on eight, Thomas headed over at the near post from a right-wing corner.

The game was delayed as it approached the quarter-hour mark as O’Brien and visitors skipper Ylenia Priest clashed heads just inside the Chatham half. After lengthy treatment, O’Brien returned with a bandage, while Priest was replaced by Grace Coombs.

Soon after the restart, Bonnie Horwood shot into Eligon’s arms from the edge of the box then moments later, Peskett struck an effort across the face of goal and wide.

Town should have taken the lead in the 19th minute when Peskett stood up a cross to the back post but Gunning-Williams nodded wide when she knows she should have netted the historic first goal.

But four minutes later, that goal finally came. Peskett played in Thomas on the left, the club’s all-time top scorer checked inside and feinted to be looking for a teammate but instead struck a shot from just inside the area which caught the inside of the top of Eligon’s right post before rippling the net.

It was Thomas’s 21st goal of the season and there could have been no more appropriate first scorer for the Tractor Girls at Portman Road.

Just before the half hour, O’Brien sent over a cross-shot from the right which Eligon palmed away for a corner.

And in the 32nd minute, Town doubled their lead. Peskett rode a couple of tackles as she took the ball into the area towards the right before hitting a shot across Eligon and into the corner of the net.

Three minutes later, it was almost 3-0. Peskett crossed from the right and the ball was knocked away from Gunning-Williams to Horwood, whose half-volley flew just wide.

On 38, Leah Mitchell rose highest at a corner from the right but was unable to direct the ball towards goal.

Seconds into eight minutes of injury time, Town were awarded a penalty. O’Brien, who had been a threat with her positive running with the ball all half, tried to take it to Coombs’s left and was tripped by the Chats sub. Referee Joanne Horwood pointed straight to the spot.

Town midfielder Horwood took the kick but was a little casual and Eligon was able to save away to her left.

Two minutes later, the Kent side seriously attacked for the first time, Otesha Charles cutting back from the right but found only Town defenders.

The Blues immediately went up the other end and Peskett shot across the face and wide from the right of the box.

Out of nothing, Chatham went close to pulling a goal back seven minutes into time added on, Ellie Jeffkins unleashing a shot from 30 yards which sailed over Town keeper Laura Hartley, largely a spectator up to that point, and crashed against the bar.

That was the last action of a half which aside from Chatham’s late chance had been dominated by the Blues, who ought to have been more than two goals in front.

Town started very positively and had had a number of chances before Thomas put the Blues in front.

The home side maintained their control having gone in front and it was little surprise when Peskett added to their lead. Town would have deserved the third goal had Horwood netted the penalty.

Town: Hartley, Mitchell, Boswell (c), Williams, Hughes, Robertson, Horwood, Peskett, O’Brien, Gunning-Williams, Thomas. Subs: Meollo, Barker, King, Doe, Bryant.

Chatham: Eligon, Hynes, Leitch, Priest (c) (Coombs 17), Jeffkins, Charles, Auguste, Taylor, Jackson, Iton, Sharp. Subs: Wells, Madamombe, Smith, Bell. Referee: Joanne Horwood (Hertfordshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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dangerous30 added 16:42 - Mar 23
Well done ladies

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