Things aren't all well at Stow

WOMEN'S SOCCER: Stowmarket Ladies 1 Watford Ladies 5. Things continued to worsen for pre-season favourites Stowmarket as they slumped to another defeat.

By Elvin King

WOMEN'S SOCCER

Stowmarket Ladies 1 Watford Ladies 5

THINGS continued to worsen for pre-season favourites Stowmarket as they slumped to another defeat.

They were well beaten by a Watford side who not only top the South East Combination League but are also averaging seven goals a game.

Yet it all started so positively for Stow. Joanne Welham made good use of space on the left to cut inside a defender and whip the ball across the face of the goal, but unfortunately no one could latch on to it.

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Minutes later Claire McLean surged forward from midfield to fire in a long-range effort from just outside the box, only to see her shot rise over the bar.

Persistent play from midfielder Steph Lloyd played in Paula Drane down the right and Drane's good work won a corner sent over by McLean and from which Debbie Morley narrowly missed the target with a glancing header.

Against the run of play Watford broke and their right-winger cut inside home defender Daisy Martin and beat keeper Louise Fellingham at her near post to open the scoring.

Stow dug in, continued to play the ball down the wings and Watford became increasingly frustrated as they were closed down quickly and given little time on the ball.

Lone striker Morley worked tirelessly for little reward.

The second half again started brightly for Stow. Straight from the kick-off, Lloyd latched on to a through ball from fellow central midfielder Sue Osbourne and stabbed a ball through to Morley, who was denied a shot by the quick-thinking Watford sweeper.

The visitors stepped up a gear and extended their lead with a superb shot, which was bent round defender Vanessa Smith and into the bottom corner.

This prompted Stow to change to three up front, which nearly paid off as Joanne Welham found herself with space for a shot on the edge of the penalty area, only for the Watford keeper to make a good save.

Poor tracking back from the home forwards led to Watford's third and fourth goals, then the home defence failed to clear and the visitors bundled in their fifth.

Stow gained a little respect back as Morley took her goal tally for the season to six by converting a Vanessa Smith corner.

Overall, it was a bad team performance caused by too many players under-achieving and not giving the commitment that is needed to fight back and win games.

A long talk in the dressing room after the game addressed some underlying issues and Stow now have to show they have the spirit to recover and salvage something from this dreadful start to the season.

The next home game is on October 20, when Denham United Ladies are the visitors for a 2pm kick-off.

To e-mail or visit the club website go to either www.secombination.org.uk or www.stowmarkettownfc.tripod.com

SIX Stowmarket players, McLean, Welham, S Lloyd, Debbie Morley, Fellingham and Martin, have been selected to represent Suffolk in this season's inter-county league competition for the Fred Welham Cup.

Suffolk's opponents will be Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Essex, who have named Stow trio Sue Osbourne, Paula Drane and Vanessa Smith in their squad.

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