Saints Ladies record victory in Norfolk

Derham Ladies 1

St Albans Ladies 5

The Saints went marching in at Dereham on Saturday and with heads high and bundles of determination they knew they had to leave Norfolk with all three of the points on offer, and that they did.

Nailing their objectives in the first 15 minutes, St Albans found the net twice with a brace from defender Donna Pringle. The first was most definitely the goal of the game.

A straight strike from Lottie Simpson rebounded off the ‘keeper right into the path of Pringle whose quick thinking was second to none – she lobbed the ‘keeper, floating the ball high into the top left corner. Everyone could do nothing but watch, and of course, applaud.

Pringle was dangerous from the first whistle, and she found the backboard once again before the end of the half; a smashing strike from a rebound on a short corner. St Albans did leak one well-taken goal, but went into half time the far happier side.

With a job to finish the visiting side came out hard, and Dereham just couldn’t keep up with the pace of Sarah Walsh as she continued her excellent form and powered through some gauntlet runs down the right hand side. Sarah Cullum was on target with a strike from a short corner, and this was swiftly followed by a Tash Webster special, slipping the ball past the Dereham ‘keeper in a one on one.

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But St Albans were not finished there – some superb build up play from Miche Bloch and Julie McConnell saw Man of the Match Lottie Simpson hammer in the final goal of the game, getting into the perfect position in front of goal to connect with a pin point pass from Melissa Ball; a completely deserved reward for a superstar performance from Simpson.

Credit to new signing Chloe Hobson who kept a steady head and put in a solid performance at the back with some sweetly timed tackles against her former club. The Saints have a well earned week off but will be back to take on Harleston Magpies at Clarence Park on Saturday, November 6.

Squad: Oatridge, Pringle, Bloch, Walsh, Dobson, Mcconnell, Hobson, Hockley (Capt), Simpson, Cullum, Ball, Webster.

* The Exiles travelled to high flying Letchworth II and suffered their second defeat of the season.

The game was not without controversy, with some very questionable umpiring throughout the match.

The Exiles started brightly and took the lead when they broke quickly down the right wing with Nick Walker. A strong hit to the back post saw new boy, Samarit, at the back post, who slid in from close range.

The game was very even, although the penalty count against the Exiles was starting to inexplicably rise. The defence held firm for several penalty corners, but it was no surprise when Letchworth levelled on the stroke of half time. Despite pressuring the hit, the Exile defenders forgot to take the man who had the ball, which left him a shot at goal, which crept between ‘keeper and defender on the line. Letchworth were briefly reduced to 10 men, for all of 90 seconds, when the striker’s dissent was penalised.

Exiles turned around at half time still in the game.

However, the second half was to be completely different. What was a foul and penalised with penalty corner in the first half suddenly became no foul, to the obvious frustration of the Exiles players. This was compounded when the Exiles had a two on one break entering the ‘D’ with a very good chance to score. The play was stopped and Nick Walker sent to the ‘bin for comments about the referee as he was running with the ball. He was to be off the field for about 10 minutes.

During this time Letchworth took full advantage, with the young Letchworth strikers running at the Exiles defence. A quick one-two pass saw him slide the ball past the ‘keeper into the net. Letchworth quickly doubled their lead when a long ball was jabbed past Fretter in the Exiles goal, who had no chance.

The game pretty much fizzled out as a contest and it was fitting that a poor umpiring decision on the final whistle allowed Letchworth another penalty corner. The ball had been played into the ‘D’ and had been hit by Mike O’Brien with his stick. The ball deflected about a metre and hit a Letchworth player on the foot. Somehow the umpire saw this as an Exiles foot and awarded get another penalty against the Exiles.

The strike direct at goal squeezed under Fretter’s body and trickled over the line to give Letchworth a rather undeserved 4-1 win. At the final whistle the Exiles were unsurprisingly disappointed not only with the result, but the manner of the defeat.

Exiles now have a home game against local rivals Potters Bar who currently sit second in the table, with Exiles languishing in the bottom half.

Exiles: J Fretter, J Bird, M O’Brien, P Dorsett, N James, N Walker, J Cowan, M Lister (c), Samerit, M Jones, S White.