Post Match Verdict – Harlow Town (A)

Sunday 13th December

Harlow Town 2-9 Ipswich Town

Ipswich Line-Up –

Williamson (GK), Hubbard (c), Egan, Peake, Rossiter, Lafayette, Allen, King, Grey, Peskett, Thomas

Subs – Meollo, Sutherland, Barratt, Cooper, Biggs, Abrehart, Adamson, Wakefield, Billson.

A highly anticipated game as Joe Sheehan’s side return to action after a second lockdown. Just over a month has passed since we last saw the girls in action in the last round of the FA Cup at Norwich. A good crowd followed the Tractor Girls over the Essex and Suffolk border to face a Harlow Town team as they look to carry on their FA Cup run.

Scoring early has been something of a habit for Ipswich this season and that continued here. Town took the lead just 5 minutes in when Paige Peake’s cross found the head of Natasha Thomas whose flick found the far bottom corner. It only took Ipswich 2 minutes to double their lead when Georgia Allen took advantage of the Harlow goalkeeper’s mistake, and tucked the ball home.

Harlow certainly weren’t letting themselves go down easy, fighting for every ball and chasing down the Ipswich defence at every opportunity. The third goal came after 17 minutes when town hit the hosts on the break from a corner kick. Anna Grey used her pace to carry the ball down the left, seen her shot blocked and crossed the rebound to Eloise King who was more than happy to slot it in to make it 3-0.

Anna Grey was involved again as Ipswich went on the attack. Grey’s low cross was fumbled by the keeper and landed perfectly for Georgia Allen to tap into the empty net for 4-0.

Harlow heads didn’t drop, a cross from the right side found Manning on the far post to head the ball home and the Essex side believing a comeback was on. Harlows’ constant pressure and closing down the ball paid off after 26 minutes when a sloppy back pass put former Tractor Girl Georgia Box through on goal who chipped the ball over the onrushing Lucy Williamson to make it 4-2 and giving the hosts a huge boost.

Town found the ascendency and took back control of the game just after the half hour mark. Peake’s cross was flicked on my Natasha Thomas and Eloise King was more than happy to fire it past the keeper and give Joe Sheehan’s side the momentum again. This paid off massively as Georgia Allen completed her first half Hat-Trick, getting on the end of Anna Grey’s cross and turning the ball into the top corner. This was just 1 of 3 goals before the break!. Next up was Sophie Peskett, with what I would say is the goal of the game. A short corner from Paige Peake allowed Sophie to turn inside and past her marker, make a run into the box and bend the ball into the far top corner. And just before the break, from another Paige Peake corner, a bullet header from Abbie Lafayette, to give the Tractor Girls an 8-2 lead at half time.

A slugish second half saw only 1 goal, which come from Natasha Thomas, who is now only 1 goal away from her 100th Ipswich Town Goal. Paige Wakefield, Amy-Leigh Abrehart and Livvy Billson come on midway though the second half and later joined by Lindsey Cooper and Maddie Biggs as Ipswich looked to get goal number 10.

The Ups and Downs

It was probably expected to have some cobwebs to brush off after having a month away and no games to play but we could also say, maybe we have been spoilt and expecting perfect football each week is being a bit selfish. Harlow put a good account in for themselves and can take solace in being one of only 2 teams to score past Lucy Williamson this season, we won’t mention who the other one is though!.

Despite the result, Town didn’t look as sharp as they have been, but are we maybe expecting perfect football week in week out after having such a good start to the season?.

Player Of The Match –

Georgia Allen got our vote this week after a brilliant display, not just her Hat-Trick, but a brilliant display all round. Controlling the midfield and spraying the ball about the pitch, finding team mates in space to maintaining control regardless of pressure from the opposition. Georgia’s late runs into the box saw her cause problems for Harlow’s Centre Backs that they simply couldn’t stop. Performances like this will put her right up there with Natasha Thomas come the end of the season in the race for the Golden Boot.

A special mention also to Anna Grey, who played brilliantly, and was simply unstoppable. Her assists in this game proved massive and seems to be really enjoying her game at the moment.

Post Match With Joe –

Joe Sheehan has seen his side come away with multiple clean sheets this season while also scoring plenty of goals. But the Town manager was pleased with the show at Harlow despite not keeping a clean sheet.

“We’re delighted to have a positive result and progress into the next round”

“I was intrigued to see how we would react off the back of conceding two”

“It can be difficult to find that edge when you’ve got a comfortable lead”

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