Thomas hits a hat-trick as Tractor Girls fight back to beat Hatters
PUBLISHED: 11:36 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 29 April 2019
National League Division One South East
Ipswich Town 5
Luton Town 2
Ipswich Town Women recovered from an early two goal deficit to beat struggling Luton Town 5-2 at Playford Road, writes Kieren Standley.
The visitors had led 2-0 at half-time but a hat-trick from substitute Natasha Thomas, a stunning bicycle kick from Paige Wakefield and a first senior goal for young forward Charlotte Kellett saw the Blues come from behind to take all three points.
Town started the brighter but it was the visiting Hatters that took the lead in fortunate circumstances as Sian Fagg blasted a loose ball straight into the closing striker Remi Bains, with the ricochet finding its way in despite Nicole Pannifer's attempt to clear it off the line. The Tractor Girls were soon stunned as Luton doubled their lead through midfielder Jess McKay, who has now found the net in four consecutive games against the Blues. McKay raced onto a long ball and calmly dispatched past the helpless Town 'keeper Fagg.
Ipswich boss Joe Sheehan made a bold decision at half-time, making a triple substitution to try and spark some life into his side. His decision started to pay off soon after as Town pulled a goal back.
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Thomas teed up the ball from Amy Nash's corner and her improvised overhead kick nestled in the bottom corner. It wasn't long before town were level with a moment of pure quality.
Pannifer swung a dangerous ball into the area before Wakefield unleashed an eye-popping bicycle kick into the corner of the net. The equaliser put wind in the sails of Town, who soon began to dominate the game.
The buoyed Blues went in search of another goal, with Zoe Cossey striking the crossbar before Thomas did indeed find a third goal, as she stabbed home following a goalmouth scramble.
However, Ipswich were not done there as Thomas claimed the match ball after reacting quickest to nod into an open net following Cossey's initial effort rebounding off the post.
Skipper Amanda Crump would be denied as her strike rattled the woodwork but inevitably the goal fest would soon continue as the Blues claimed their fifth of the afternoon through Under 21's forward Kellett.
Wakefield found the promising youngster in the left channel before the former curled the ball into the far corner. The result sees Town remain eighth in the table ahead of next Sunday's league season finale away to Cambridge United.