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U's Ladies Slip to Third Defeat
The ladies third successive defeat has finally sent them to the bottom of the table as they lost out 3-0 at home to newly promoted Crystal Palace Ladies. The ladies seem unable to find their feet this season so far as another disappointing result means they have yet to pick up one point in the league this year. Injury is playing its part in the ladies fortunes and today's game highlighted the weaknesses the side is currently experiencing. There were some good individual performances but the players still need to find their form from the end of last season.
The visitors, Crystal Palace were a strong organised side who displayed a superior physical presence for long periods of the game. The U's were first to apply the pressure though and for the first ten minutes of the game were looking good going forward, however, they were dealt an early blow when Palace went ahead first.
During the first half, a few chances were not converted with a hopeful shot from Nicky Bryan going over the bar and Krista Hultquist painfully lofting a shot into the stands from just 2 yards out, after a great flick on header from Ami Warnes.
The second half would be where the game deteriorated as the U's were made to pay for these rare missed opportunities. Anna Page was the first casualty of the game with a very unwanted 18th birthday present. For the second week in a row she had to be substituted after she hit her head and with a suspected concussion was replaced with Vicky Beales.
Hultquist did not put away an early chance after Charlene Roach, sent in a perfectly weighted cross, she took a first time shot from outside the area which went wide. It would be a game of few crosses or corners for the U's as Palace continued to apply pressure on the weary U's defence. A mix up and unmarked player accounted for the second visitors goal after poor marking from a throw into the box resulted in the Palace forward slotting the ball home.
Skipper, Lauren Richardson, displaying superb commanding ability in the middle of the park, rallied the team throughout the whole game and tried to lift the players around her. She had the next best chance of the half after a goal kick from player of the match and stand in keeper Jamie Newstead, evaded the heads of the Palace defence and gave Richardson a clean run on goal, letting the ball bounce once, she attempted to lob the advancing keeper who did fantastically well in getting a fingertip to the ball to take the momentum out of the effort, leaving her defence to clean up as they cleared the ball from the danger area.
Palace then proceeded to put the game out of reach after a corner was cleared to the edge of the area, the Palace striker wasted no time with her shot which hit the crossbar and bounced in behind Newstead who really had little chance of stopping the third goal.
The game was fairly once sided for large periods of time although striker Ami Warnes put in another valiant effort and at times made life very difficult for the Palace defence, neither her or any of her team mates were able to find the back of the net resulting in another loss for the U's ladies which sees them sitting firmly at the bottom of the table with no points and -7 goal difference. They are keeping company with QPR and Gillingham who also have yet to register a point but have a better goal difference.
Manager Jane Swift, although exceptionally frustrated by the result, gave credit to her players in terms of the work rate they put into the game, with key players set to return for next weeks game, including goalkeeper Murphy, it should not be long before the U's can find the formula to turn their fortunes around.
Results from this weeks games.
31st August 2003
West Ham 2-0 QPR
Rushden 2-1 Gillingham
Brook House 2-1 Bedford
Colchester 0-3 Crystal Palace
Stowmarket 3-2 Denham
Barking 1-1 Norwich City
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