City Ladies up to fourth

Nat Clark in action for City Ladies v MK Dons Ladies.

Nat Clark in action for City Ladies v MK Dons Ladies. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City 3, MK Dons 0

Norwich City Ladies moved up to fourth in the SE Combination table after this victory - and second place is four points away with three games to play.

ystarted the day undefeated since 13th February and were looking to extend this run against MK Dons who were only two points and one place behind them in the league table.

After their sterling performance the previous week with only nine players Norwich were still without two defenders, Becky Gray and Leah Newcombe, but welcomed back keeper Fiona Coombes and midfield players Anna Larkins, Gabrielle Whitehurst and Hayley Collison.

It only took eight minutes for the opening goal to arrive and it was Nadine Basson who found the finish. Good pressure from Kyla Love enabled Basson to pick up on a loose back pass and calmly finish making it 1-0. Norwich continued to work hard in warm conditions, pressing from the front and winning the ball high on several occasions, leaving Coombes in goal with very little to do in the opening 20 minutes, however she needed to be alert when MK Dons were handed their first opportunity, Coombes came sliding out diving bravely at the feet of their forward player.

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With play becoming evenly balanced over the next 15 minutes it was Norwich who doubled their lead on 37 minutes when Kyla Love was played through by Basson and as she raced through to hold the defender off she fired the ball goal wards from 20 yards giving the ‘keeper no chance and landing in the back of the net.

Norwich went it two goals to the good at half time, which was fully deserved after a high-effort first half, playing with confidence and quality.

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More of the same followed in the second half, with Norwich dominating possession and controlling the proceedings. Captain Kate Parsons was winning the battle in the air and the midfield was picking up the second balls to maintain possession and build attacks, especially in midfield with Natalie Clark, Gemma Farman and Hayley Collison.

With the game at 2-0, MK Dons only needed one goal to get back into the game, but Norwich were confident and positive, taking the game to their opponents and Parsons almost make it 3-0 with a good header from Farman’s corner. Following this chance, Vicki Stephens was played in but good pressure from the goalkeeper resulted in the shot being placed just past the far post.

Whitehurst was brought into the action, replacing Natalie Clark, Larkins and Naomi Cooper were finding more space to join in from their full back positions, allowing Stephens and Love to commit to attack, and it was the latter that made it 3-0 to City after Basson flicked the ball on for Love to finish.

With only two minutes remaining Gray was introduced for Cooper and City saw the game out.

Credit must go to all of the squad for their effort and commitment to contribute to a Norwich dominated performance.

Team line up: Coombes, Larkins, Diston, Parsons, Cooper, Love, Clark, Farman, Collison, Stephens, Basson Subs: Gray, Whitehurst

Norwich have a break from their impressive league form and will concentrate on lower league opposition Acle United next week when they compete in the Norfolk Womens Cup Final when they will defend their title at Norfolk FAs’ Football Development Centre, Kick Off 2pm.

City Ladies’ manager Emma Fletcher said: “We were very pleased with the performance today, following last weekend’s game it was case of having to reshuffle things slightly at the back, but the girls that were asked to drop back in there were superb and didn’t look out of place.

“The girls worked extremely hard today, I thought we dominated the 1st 20 minutes, allowed them to come back in to it but never really looked like conceding which is something you can’t always say!”

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