Late equaliser blow for Hethersett
Hethersett Ladies 3, Chelmsford 3 HETHERSETT Ladies faced a tough start to their Eastern Region Premier League season at home to an experienced, strong Chelmsford side.
Hethersett Ladies 3, Chelmsford 3
HETHERSETT Ladies faced a tough start to their Eastern Region Premier League season at home to an experienced, strong Chelmsford side.
Their opponents had challenged all year for the league title only to be pipped late on by Braintree at the end of the previous campaign.
Hethersett put out a typically young side with 16-year-old twins Sophie and Vicki Lubbock making debuts in goal and central defence respectively, and Luci Middleton, playing for the first time, partnering Emma Mulley as a striker.
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The home side took the lead when a free- kick from just inside the Chelmsford half delivered by Annison evaded the defence, Grace Birchall found space at the far post and fired the ball across goal which was turned home by an unfortunate defender for an own goal.
Hethersett doubled their lead soon after as Mulley found room in the box but was soon surrounded by defenders. After a good touch she gave a defender no option but to haul her down and concede a penalty, which was dispatched with some style by Emily Coates.
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Just as Hethersett thought things couldn't get much better, Birchall went on a fine solo run which was finished off brilliantly by smashing the ball into the top corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance at all, to take the hosts into a fine 3-0 lead at half-time.
It was a superb first-half performance by such a young side, and Sophie Lubbock had very little to do showing the dominance held by Hethersett.
The second half was a different affair with Chelmsford coming out straight away determined to pull the game back, and early in the second half scored a well-worked goal.
The Essex side put Hethersett under massive amounts of pressure with no respite coming at all, but the girls were holding firm and limiting Chelmsford to long-range efforts held well by Lubbock.
A turning point came when Stacey Annison was forced off for treatment after being tackled, during which time a corner wasn't cleared properly and one of the visiting players netted the loose ball.
Annison was able to continue but had to be withdrawn shortly after, still feeling the effects of the injury.
Hethersett had their hearts broken as in the last seconds of normal time a hopeful cross was only half cleared and for the first time all afternoon a Chelmsford player was unchallenged in the box to head home past the despairing dive of keeper Lubbock.
It was a disappointing end but they must take great heart from so comprehensively outplaying a very good and experienced side for a large part of the game. The young players on their debuts were all excellent and met the challenge superbly.
If the levels of commitment and performance are met every week then an exciting season lies ahead.