Ladies start Premier Division life with a win
By Mark Rozzier
A second half penalty from Rosie Page-Smith sealed the win by the odd goal in five at New Milton.
Woodley United Ladies got their league season of to a winning start in bizarre circumstances that saw Clara Stringer injured in the warm up, to be replaced by Ruth Pearson in the starting line-up, followed by Sophie Measham lasting three minutes before having to be substituted by Sarah Thompson.
United started promisingly, passing the ball well and enjoying plenty of possession in the hosts’ half of the pitch and were rewarded with the opening goal in the thirteenth minute when Thompson received a cleared ball from a Woodley corner, to drive her shot from outside the penalty area off the underside of the bar into the net. This was to be the first of four goals all scored from outside the penalty area and ranks as probably the earliest in club history score by a substitute.
Using the wings well both May Hamblin and Jodie Penny were dangerous while Maddie Sawyer and Natasha Master were effective in central midfield as Untied continued to dominate the game. It was Penny who extended the lead twenty five minutes later when she converted good play involving both Rosie Page-Smith and Master.
With Page-Smith forced to leave the field of play four minutes from half time New Milton enjoyed their best spell of the half and reduced the deficit in the forty fifth minute when Woodley’s defence failed to track Rebecca Ingram whose shot from the edge of the box eluded Nicole Haines into the keeper’s top right hand corner.
United started the second half as they played the majority of the first, in their opponents half and saw Penny hit the cross bar before Town levelled on the counter attack through Caitlin Steele, ten minutes after the restart.
Two minutes later Haines was required to make her first save of the match diving to her right. United whether this storm and with Page-Smith reintroduced, the striker won a penalty which she converted in the sixty third minute for the all-important winning goal.
Haines, Wilkins, Measham, Sawyer, Pearson, Surtees, Page-Smuth, Penny, Evans. Master, Hamblin. Subs used: Thompson, Ward, Stringer