24 April 2017 19:49
Town’s pleasing midweek County Cup final performance extended into league success as they beat Ipswich 5-1 on Sunday.
Dione Manning put Town ahead before Ipswich scored an equaliser through Laura Guyon. Erica Byron regained the lead for Town ahead of half time and goals from Jess McKay, Joanne Rutherford and Jodie Southby secured the dominant victory in the second half.
Nikki Baker made two changes to the team that won the County Cup final against Offley & Stopsley as Byron started in attack and Lucy Tape came into left back with Asia Brown occupying the central midfield position.
The Hatters opened their account in the 22nd minute when Nicola Henman threaded a delightful ball out to Manning whose tricky feet got her passed the Ipswich goal keeper Leanne Smith to glance the ball into the bottom left corner.
The away team scored a soft equaliser just over ten minutes later after Town failed to clear the danger from a long free kick and Guyon put the ball away from close range.
Town responded immediately and Byron’s persistent pressure paid off when she nicked the ball of hesitant goal keeper Smith to slot calmly into the bottom left corner.
The Hatters extended their lead in the second period when Captain Rachel Carter delivered an irresistible ball out to Jess McKay who improvised superbly and blasted the ball into the bottom corner from distance.
Six minutes later, Byron was involved again and won a penalty for Town after she was fouled in the 18-yard box and striker Rutherford converted the spot kick comfortably into the bottom right corner.
Substitute Southby capped off a fine victory for Town as she fired the ball into the bottom left corner after Henman done brilliantly in the build-up to play a good ball into to the young midfielder.
Baker was thrilled with the performance and said: “I am delighted with the three points and with scoring five.
“We have been struggling to score many goals in the league but to score five, and have one disallowed too, I am really happy.
“I don't see why we can't take maximum points (from the remaining games) and that will be our target.
“The games will be tough as three teams are fighting relegation, and Cambridge is always a difficult encounter.
“However we are positive and only lost once in the last eight games so don't see why we can't beat all four sides if we play the way we know we can”.
Baker was forced into making changes with key players Zara Carroll and Amy Summerfield missing but she was happy to see other squad members perform well in their absence.
“Asia (Brown) was outstanding in there and she took on instructions perfectly”, Baker commented.
“Lucy (Tape) went into the back four on the left side and didn't look out of place, she had a great game.
“I am really pleased for her because she has been patient all season and she got her chance today and took it brilliantly.
“We also had the youngest bench ever, two 16 year olds and Jodie who has just turned 17 and they all came on and did very well.
“Bex (Rebecca Ferris) has been on the bench a couple of times and came on and scored straight away only for it to be disallowed so I am gutted for her”.
Town will play Cambridge in their next game on Sunday.