Tractor Girls triumph to move to the top of the table
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town Women 2 Billericay Women 1
Town moved top of the Women's National League Division One South East Table as they beat fellow promotion hopefuls Billericay Town 2-1 at the Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, on Sunday.
Paige Peake and Natasha Thomas were both on target for third time each this season as the Blues ended the Essex side's unbeaten run. Meanwhile, Therese Addison was both on the scoresheet and sent off for the visitors.
Town went close early on as Amanda Crump headed straight at the goalkeeper from Zoe Cossey's dangerous floated delivery. Soon after, Crump would have her head in her hands again as Thomas' cut-back to the back-post just evaded the arriving Blues captain.
However, it wasn't long before Ipswich deservedly took the lead. Peake's free-kick cannoned off the crossbar before the ball was cleared out in the direction of Sophie Peskett, who whipped the ball into the six-yard box, allowing Thomas to find the bottom corner with an improvised diving header.
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The Tractor Girls doubled their advantage soon after in astonishing fashion as England U18 international Peake found the back of the net directly from a corner despite Billericay goalkeeper Amy Mullett getting her fingertips to the ball. The goal just before the break saw Ipswich comfortably ahead going into the second-half.
Billericay adjusted their shape at half-time and introduced forward Karissa Rodney in place of defender Kelsey Kiely. The change seemed to spark new life into the visitors and they soon had a chance to get themselves back into the game as Jay Blackie hit the bar with a headed effort.
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Not long after the hour-mark, the Essex side did find the goal they were searching for as Addison was sent away down the left before beating Peake one-on-one and finding the back of the net following a deflection off of the recovering Lindsey Cooper.
Both sides continued to tussle for control of the game but it was Town who looked most likely to score. Two chances fell in as many minutes as first Mullett almost sliced a back-pass into her own net before Abbie Lafayette volleyed wide after excellent build-up play from the Blues.
The game would soon take an eventful turn as Addison was shown a second yellow card for what appeared to be dissent after not being awarded a free-kick she felt she should've had.
Billericay continued to battle hard to the end and Town stopper Nikita Runnacles was called into action to deny her former side with a pair of strong saves in the dying moments.
Town held on after seven minutes of added time to secure the three points and move top of the table on head-to-head record as both the Blues and Billericay's stats are exactly matching.
The Tractor Girls return to action this Sunday at home to Royston Town in the second-qualifying round of the FA Cup at the Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe.
Town: Runnacles (GK), Peake, Cooper, Egan, Wilson, Lafayette, King (Wakefield), Crump (c), Cossey, Peskett (Grey), Thomas (Biggs).
Unused: Hubbard, Pannifer