Grey bags a double as Tractor Girls go clear at top
- Credit: Ross Halls
Ipswich Town Women extended their lead at the top of the FAWNL Southern Premier Division with a 3-0 victory over Cardiff City at Ocean Park Arena yesterday.
Zoe Barratt opened the scoring with her tenth goal of the season and Anna Grey continued her fine run of form with a second-half brace.
Town came flying out of the traps and created an excellent opportunity inside the opening five minutes as Grey burst past her marker before delivering an inviting ball for Barratt, who turned just over the bar from six-yards.
Natasha Thomas was the next to go close as she met Barratt's inch-perfect cross but her diving header was somehow kept out by Estelle Randall.
However, two minutes later Randall was picking the ball out of her net as Barratt whipped a cross towards the back-post which ultimately lobbed the Cardiff goalkeeper and nestled in the far corner.
Ipswich kept up the pressure and continued to threaten going forward before the hosts found a spark on the cusp of half-time.
First, Isobel News turned in midfield after holding off both Bonnie Horwood and Kyra Robertson before firing towards goal. Her shot almost crept into the top corner but Sarah Quantrill got across to tip the ball onto the crossbar.
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Seconds later, Cardiff went close again as Ellie Sargent broke into the Town area and forced Quantrill into a tremendous one-handed save to preserve Town's lead.
Cardiff would've fancied their chances in the second-half based on their bright spell before the break but the Tractor Girls delivered a hammer blow just seconds after the restart as they doubled their advantage.
After racing down the right-hand side, Thomas fizzed her cross into the area and the arriving Grey was able to meet the ball to turn it past Randall.
Town continued to dominate proceedings and got a deserved third just after the hour-mark as Grey found the net for the fourth time in three matches with almost a carbon copy of Barratt's goal earlier in the afternoon.
After a neat one-two with Thomas, Grey broke into the area and fired her back-post cross over the head of Randall and into the net.
Chances continued to stack up for Town as Barratt and Thomas both went close to extending the scoring before the latter was cursing her luck as Randall somehow tipped her curling effort over the bar after great initial work from Maddie Biggs.
Cardiff would have one final chance to net a consolation goal but Chloe Lloyd's shot from distance was routinely dealt with by Quantrill. Town saw the game out comfortably to secure a vital three points on the road.
The Tractor Girls success in South Wales was also boosted by the news of title rivals Oxford United and Southampton both dropping points in their respective fixtures.
Town are now four points clear of the U's and 13 points clear of the Saints, though the South Coast side have five games in hand on the Blues.
Town: Quantrill, Hughes (Boswell), Peake, Lafayette, Hubbard, Horwood (c), Robertson (O'Brien), Barratt (Biggs) King, Grey (Bryant), Thomas.
Unused: L. Jackson