Essex Women Secure Point Against Royal Navy

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Essex 2-2 Royal Navy, Wednesday 4th October 2017, Kick-Off 7:45pm, Parkside, Southern Counties Women’s Cup.

Essex and the Royal Navy shared the spoils as both sides opened their Southern Counties Cup campaign with a point following an entertaining 2-2 draw at Aveley FC’s brand new Parkside home.

Following a competitive but goalless opening half, Essex grabbed the lead in style through Abigail Fry, then two late goals looked to have won the tie for the Navy before a late Paris Smith penalty ensured the contest finished all-square.

It was a first ever meeting in women’s football between the two County Associations in what is also Essex’s first ever season in the female section of the Southern Counties, a competition the Navy have returned to following a long hiatus.

The contest was slow to come to life despite both sides enjoying some good spells with the ball in the opening stages. A half-chance for the home team saw Sophie Vale scuff wide from a Fry ball, but it was the Navy who enjoyed more of the first-half chances.

Rosie McDonnell sprinted through only to be denied by the first of a number of fine saves from Essex goalkeeper Robyn Strauss before Ciara Boylan burst into the box and fired an angled drive over the top.

From a Nat Bavister corner, Taylor McGlashan headed just wide for the visitors, before Strauss kept her side on level terms three times before the break. Firstly the Billericay custodian made an outstanding double save to deny McGlashan’s header, then a close-range follow-up, before doing well to hold onto Anthea Kaptein’s curling effort on the stroke of half time.

The game swung Essex’s way after the restart, though. Just four minutes in, a fine run and angled shot from Courtney Clarke brought a good stop from Navy ‘keeper Roxy Roberts before the hosts took the lead with a fine goal on 51 minutes as Fry’s speculative, 30-yard lob dropped inches beneath the crossbar. But the visitors responded well.

Strauss was there again to deny McDonnell, who had been played through on goal but, on 81 minutes, Strauss was beaten as Kaptein coolly slotted in a low finish. Just four minutes later the Navy had turned the contest around as McDonnell angled a run into the penalty area before finishing smartly into the far corner.

However, Essex were thrown a lifeline on 89 minutes as Lindsey Morgan was fouled by ‘keeper Roberts and Smith calmly stroked home the resulting penalty to level the game again. Strauss was still to have her final say, though. In the dying seconds she pulled off her best save of the night, down low at the near post to deny Bavister a late winner for the away side.

Essex: Robyn Strauss (Billericay Town), Sophie Blowers (C & K Basildon), Charlotte Bryant (Writtle), Charlotte Twydell (Brentwood Town), Lucy Jones (Writtle), Courtney Lumley (Billericay Town), Paris Smith (Billericay Town), Lindsey Morgan (Billericay Town), Sophie Vale (Writtle), Abigail Fry (Writtle), Courtney Clarke (Writtle). Substitutes (repeated): Niamh Gamble (Writtle), Chelsea Hinz (Billericay Town), Georgia Box (Colchester Town), Nicole Farmer (Billericay Town).

Royal Navy: Roxy Roberts, Sophie Perrin, Ciara Boylan, Rachel Carragher, Taylor McGlashan, Katie Shorter, Rosie McDonnell, Nat Bavister, Grace O’Leary, Anthea Kaptien, Susan Badger. Substitutes (repeated): Hannah Canning, Kim Stenning.

Referee: Stacey Ford (South Woodham Ferrers).

Assistant Referees: Brian Taylor (Billericay) and Anthony Abbs (Billericay).

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