Last season’s winners, Middlesex Women started their defence of the Southern Counties Cup Competition, at Rectory Park last Wednesday evening. The match ended as a 2-2 draw, which was a fair result for this very skilful and entertaining encounter, despite Middlesex’s disappointment at losing a 2-0 interval lead.
Middlesex Manager Craig Nicholson was without several of his key players for this game but his team looked the more dangerous throughout the first half. Sue Kummaning put them into the lead in the 8th minute with a drive high into the opposition’s net from around 30 yards.
We doubled our lead in the 20th minute with a low shot from Chloe Sampson, which the Army keeper couldn’t hold.
Lizzie Rose in the Middlesex goal was being kept reasonably busy but was not unduly troubled before half time.
Middlesex were playing fluent passing football and could have added to their lead. Army keeper, Kenni Clarke saved well low down from Kasha Petit, who had been put through by Chloe Sampson. Kenni then saved at Alessandra Barreca’s feet and then at close range from Chloe.
Chloe won the ball in a duel with the keeper to set up Kasha but visiting captain, Louisa Anderson stopped her shot on the goal line.
Half time score: Middlesex 2 Army 0
Our visitors went up a gear after the interval and reduced the deficit in the 52nd minute. Rachel Rigby, who was outstanding throughout the second period, cut in from the left and netted with an angled drive.
Three minutes later a key incident unfortunately prevented Middlesex from restoring their two goal advantage. Sue Kummaning released Kayleigh Currivan through the middle. Kayleigh outpaced the Army defence but the keeper managed to deflect her shot high up onto the inside of the goal post, from where it bounced across the face of the goal and out.
Our visitors continued to pressurise our defence with Rachel Rigby and winger Kelly Aldridge particularly prominent. Chloe Sampson went close for us, when she skimmed the cross bar, following good work by Samantha Lanza Gabian.
Most of the chances were now going to the Army. Lizzie Rose pushed away a good angled shot by Louisa Anderson, saved with her feet from Tara Guyler, who had broken clear up the middle and dived full length to thwart Rachel Rigby.
After some more near misses, Louisa Anderson headed the Army’s equaliser in the 92nd minute.
Two minutes later, Army keeper, Kenni Clarke dropped a high ball and Kizzanna Fergus netted. However, a foul was given. Kenni was injured during the action and had to be substituted. Defender Tara Parker took over for the remaining minutes and performed creditably.
Referee Sarah Day had a good match, ably assisted by her Middlesex colleagues, Merv Hughes and Luke Partington.
Middlesex: Lizzie Rose (Denham United), Micaela Lopes (Actonians), Laura Hennessey (QPR), Meila D’Santos (Actonians), Danielle Maloney (UCFB), Rachel Keightley (Denham United), Kasha Petit (QPR) (capt), Sue Kummaning (Hounslow), Chloe Sampson (QPR), Alessandra Barreca (Actonians) and Kizzanna Fergus (New London Lionesses).
Substitutes (rolling substitutions were used): Kayleigh Currivan (Denham United), Carla Perez (QPR) and Samantha Lanza Gabian (New London Lionesses).
Manager: Craig Nicholson Assistant Manager: Jacob Ballheimer Physio: Katy Bignell.
ARMY: Kenni Clarke, Gnr Kayla Atkinson (RA), Sgt Tara Parker (RE), LCpl Louisa Anderson (AMS Res) (capt), Cpl Georgia Watton (RSigs), LBdr Shannon Bradley (RA), Cpl Jessica Treharne (RLC), Cpl Rachel Rigby (RLC), Cpl Libby Dixon (AGC-SPS), Lt Tara Guyler (RAC) and LCpl Kelly Aldridge (REME).
Substitutes: LCpl Shannon Morgan (RLC), Cpl Terri Trowbridge, LCpl Steph Carrick (both AGC-SPS) and Gnr Anna Birtwhistle RA.
Head Coach: Sgt Barry Coaches: SSgt Crighton, Bdr Parker and Sig Wells Physio: SSgt Crozier