Derby joy as Norwich beat Ipswich

Ipswich Ladies 1, Norwich City Ladies 3Norwich City Ladies won derby bragging rights, beating Ipswich in the SE Combination League last night.It was their shortest trip of the season so far down the A140.

Ipswich Ladies 1, Norwich City Ladies 3

Norwich City Ladies won derby bragging rights, beating Ipswich in the SE Combination League last night.

It was their shortest trip of the season so far down the A140.

Joint manager Emma Fletcher said: “Local derbies are always special, like us Ipswich will always try to play football and I think that helps us as that is what we are about.

“I'd like to also mention Gemma Farman who slotted so well into the team, her experience tonight in the position she played allowed the midfield to push on and support Nikita Morris up front. It is pleasing to see so many youngsters making their debuts tonight."

City were wanting to get back to winning ways after the early exit to Spurs in the League cup on Sunday so it was important the Canaries performed well.

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However it was never going to be easy when late calls off and players failing late fitness tests really tested the club's resources.

With the call-up of no fewer than four reserve team players, what a game for three of them to make their first-team debuts.

The first making her debut was Fiona Coombes, aged 16, in goal! She was a member of the Girls Centre of Excellence last season and a keen Norwich supporter.

Stalwart midfielder Gemma Farman also came in and started, offering her experience and composure on the ball.

City kicked off and put considerable pressure on the Ipswich side, resulting in several early opportunities and corners for the Canaries, one of which hit the Ipswich crossbar and was cleared away from harm.

Finally City were rewarded from one of the corners when Laura Thacker side-footed the ball home.

City's second soon followed and good work from Kirstie Kindred down the right-hand side, crossed the ball and found Charlie Branch in space who calmly placed her chance in to the empty net

The rain then followed and both sides were finding it extremely hard to control the ball on the slippery, wet surface.

Ipswich were continually looking to play their winger in then City faced their 1st blow of the game, when goal scorer Thacker had to be replaced due to injury. Adele McCrory, who has been out with injury herself, came on.

City then got their third when Jordan Arnoup played a cross field ball that hit the surface and over the on rushing keeper's head, with the keeper scrambling back Sophie Gillett raced to the ball first and got the ball in the net.

Ipswich replied almost immediately, when a rare mistake from substitute McCrory gave them an opportunity to get on the scoresheet and one they took very gratefully.

The second half saw Ipswich push forward to take the game to City, with the rain still continuing to come down the very young visitors stood firm.

Nikita Morris was working extremely hard up front, not allowing Ipswich to play out easily.

Then it was time for another 16-year-old ex-centre player to make her debut, Shannon Kelly, who replaced the injured Anna Larkins.

With 10 minutes on the clock Jenny Harrision came on to make her debut and complete a trio of debuts for City.

City held on and survived the pressure the Ipswich side piled on in search of goals.

This performance will go down as one of the best of the season so far, with no fewer than six players under the age of 18 finishing the game.

Both sides should also be commended for the football they played especially in such horrible conditions.

City's next trip is away yet again when they travel to bottom side Ebbsfleet on Sunday.

When asked about the amount of injuries the team has and what effect this has on the title challenge, Fletcher said: “Every team goes through a spell in the season when players are unavailable for one reason or another.

“It has come a little bit earlier then we would have liked. But you have to have faith in your fringe players and the development underneath and to be fair so far they have risen to the challenge.

“We hope to have a couple more players back on Sunday so that should strengthen us, but I'm sure whatever team we put out, they will give their all."