Thomas at the double as Tractor Girls go third
PUBLISHED: 12:12 26 February 2018
FA Women’s Premier League South East Division 1
Ipswich Town 3
Cambridge United 1
Natasha Thomas hit a brace and Miagh Downey scored her third goal in as many games as Ipswich Town Ladies kept their slim title hopes alive with well earned 3-1 victory over Cambridge United at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, writes Kieren Standley.
Thomas, back in the squad after missing last week’s 7-1 victory against Bungay, takes her tally for the season to 15 after another talismanic display.
The game started at an incredibly slow pace, with pitch conditions restricting both sides from finding any rhythm. Neither side had any opportunities in the opening exchanges but Town took the lead just before the 15-minute mark with the game’s first goal attempt.
Cambridge failed to clear their lines following Amanda Crump’s dangerous corner, leaving Thomas unmarked in the area, who drove towards goal and found the back of the net, with the help of a trailing Cambridge leg on the line.
The U’s were presented with an opportunity to draw level on the stroke of half-time after an uncharacteristic mix-up between Crump and Town keeper Sian Fagg, resulting in a penalty for the visitors.
The Blues’ skipper sold Fagg short with a back pass, Lauren Cartwright raced through on goal but was brought down heavily by the onrushing Town keeper. Amber Cantwell stepped up but her tame penalty was comfortably saved by Fagg.
Four minutes after the restart, the Blues doubled their advantage. Zoe Cossey played the ball over the top to the in-form Downey, who held off the covering defender and fired the ball low under U’s keeper Savannah Smith and into the bottom right corner.
The U’s did pull one back on the hour mark after capitalising on some poor defending from the Blues, as Cantwell atoned for her earlier missed spot kick and slotted home unchallenged after a cut back from the left hand side.
Town restored their cushion and confirmed the three points 12 minutes from time after a moment of pure quality from Thomas.
She turned her defender inside-out with a double Cruyff turn, before curling the ball over Smith’s head and into the top right corner.
The result sees the Tractor Girls move up into third place, hot on the heels of second-placed Leyton Orient, with a chance of overtaking the East Londoners with a win away at fifth-placed Luton Town this Sunday.