Ipswich Town Ladies suffer blow to promotion bid
PUBLISHED: 15:08 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:31 29 January 2018
FA Women’s Premier League
South East Division One
Leyton Orient 2
Ipswich Town 1
Ipswich Town Ladies’ hopes of promotion suffered a massive setback as they fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient at Mile End Stadium, writes Kieren Standley.
A brace from Orient’s top scorer Sophie Le Marchand was enough to see the East London side to a fortunate victory, with both goals coming against the run of play.
Natasha Thomas was on the scoresheet for the Blues, who had been by far the better side for a large part of the game.
It was Town who started the brightest, with Harriet Petley, Cassie Craddock and Sophie Welton all going close in the early stages.
However it was the home side who struck first when the Blues were undone by some defensive confusion.
Nicole Pannifer appeared to be fouled on the edge of the Town area, causing a lapse in concentration, and Orient were alert to pounce on the opportunity to punish the Blues, who didn’t play to the whistle, with Le Marchand claiming the easiest of tap ins following Barton’s deflected cut back.
Town responded well to going a goal down, with Amanda Crump and Welton both forcing O’s keeper’ Naomi Ogunde into decent saves. Ipswich were rewarded for their endeavour four minutes from the break when Thomas rose highest to head home at the back post, with the help of the woodwork, following Crump’s deep corner.
The second half started at a much lower intensity with neither side able to create clear cut chances in the opening stages. However on the hour mark, the East Londoners found themselves back in front through a lightning quick counter-attack.
Town had a chance of their own when Thomas burst into the Orient area and cut the ball back for Welton, whose shot was well held by Ogunde. The O’s then broke away instantly with Barton receiving the roll out from Ogunde and released Le Marchand through on goal, who showed great composure to knock it past Sian Fagg in the Town goal, and fire into an open net.
The result means Town face an uphill battle for promotion with top of the league AFC Wimbledon now 13 points clear of the fourth-placed Blues, having played two more games.
The Tractor Girls return to league action this Sunday in a must-win game at home to ninth placed Denham United, at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, kick-off 2pm.