Football: Harlow Ladies go down fighting in first game of the season
Football / Mon 23rd Aug 2021 at 01:57pm
Harlow Ladies 2 v 3 Cambridge United
A GOAL from Hannah Porter and a wonder strike from Billie Brooks wasn’t enough for the Hawks as Cambridge City ran out winners at the Harlow Arena on Sunday reports Aaron Moore.
The visitors applied early pressure in the opening minutes of the game, as they sought the first goal, but the Hawks defended well to limit the chances. Charlotte Gillies ran through on goal, but saw her effort hit the post before she sent a cross towards goal, but it was fired out of play. A couple of minutes later, the Hawks had their first chance of the game as Chloe Bassett sent a ball towards the far post, but it was just wide, with no one close enough to tap home.
Cambridge continued to dominate as the first half went on. Grace Stanley touched the ball beyond Zara Wickert, but she recovered well to hold onto the ball, before a ball ricocheted off a couple of players, but it was just wide of the post and a shot from outside the box was just over. Millie Stacey was enough to shot from distance, but her effort was comfortably held by the keeper before Bella Simmons fired a shot towards the top corner from the away side, but her effort was just over.
The Hawks moved the ball well as a shot was blocked from just inside the box, but the faints shouts for a handball were ignored by the referee before Ellie Manning was ruled offside just before she could fire home. Minutes later, Wickert was called into action once again as she pulled off a superb double save to deny the visitors a goal. Despite Cambridge dominating possession, it was the Hawks who broke the deadlock. Kaydee King delivered an inch perfect ball towards goal with Hannah Porter heading beyond the keeper to score our first goal in the FA Women’s National League.
King looked to turn from provider to goalscorer as she headed the ball towards goal, but the keeper held on well before Cambridge sought an equaliser in the closing stages of the first half. The Hawks rode their luck as Erin Davies fired a shot towards goal, but her effort was off the crossbar before a free-kick was fired over. Chloe Bassett looked to fire the ball into an open goal from distance, but her shot was just wide before Cambridge equalised in the 45th-minute as the ball was played over the top and fired beyond Wickert from close range.
The visitors had the first chance of the second-half as they came forward in the opening seconds, but Zara Wickert held onto the ball well before the Hawks found a foothold in the game. Hannah Porter looked to double her tally with another header, but the ball was cleared off the line before Chloe Bassett made a superb run towards goal, taking it beyond the full-back, but her ball towards the penalty spot was cut out. Millie Stacey fed the ball through to Ash Deacon, but the latter’s shot was fired over before Bassett came close twice in a matter of minutes; her first effort was aimed towards the far post but was inches wide before Georgia Box played the ball to her, with her cutting inside and shooting, but the keeper tipped her effort round the post. The resulting corner was headed towards goal from King, but her effort was just wide.
Despite the dominance from the Hawks, it was Cambridge who took the lead. A ball was fired towards goal and headed beyond the keeper. The Hawks resumed their attacks as they sought to bring themselves level. Deacon looked to play the ball through for Bassett, but the keeper was out quickly before she could latch onto it while Hannah Porter flicked the ball onto Amy Jacobs, but the latter’s shot was fired just wide.
As the game reached the last 15-minutes, it was the Lilywhites who had the better chances. A shot from the right-hand side was fired into the side-netting, before they added to extend their lead with 8-minutes to go; Witherspoon was played through and lifted the ball over the on-rushing keeper to put the visitors three-one to the good. A few minutes later the lead was cut down to a goal again as Billie Brooks opening her Harlow account with an outrageous effort, sending the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net from 50 yards out.
With a couple of minutes left to play, Cambridge held the ball in the corner as the Hawks looked to get the ball up the pitch. The Hawks looked to earn a point with a late equaliser, but they couldn’t find the back of the net, with the last chance a corner in the 94th-minute, but nothing came from the set-piece.