22 May 2017 11:36
Luton Town Ladies slipped up to a 2-1 defeat on Sunday against Norwich City Ladies in the final game of the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One season.
Town were one up at half time through Jess McKay before The Canaries fought back in the second half thanks to a brace from Ebony Wiseman.
The Hatters finish the season in fifth place, three points off last year’s point tally while Norwich avoided relegation with a 10th place finish.
Town manager Nikki Baker expressed how pleased she was of her squad after making several changes to the team at the start of the campaign.
“The past three seasons we have finished 4th, 4th and 5th so we have proved we are one of the top teams”, Baker said.
“We had a big rebuild of the squad at the beginning of the season and we signed several young players who have come a long way.
“We finished behind four teams who have a budget and some sort of financial input so I am proud of the girls for that.
“We need to strengthen in a couple of areas but I fully believe in the squad we have. We just need to become a little less complacent in games like today, use our experience more and be more dangerous in front of goal”.
Nikki Baker made two changes to her starting line up with McKay and Jodie Southby coming in for Jodie Bellinger and Dionne Manning.
The Hatters had a perfect opportunity to go ahead after seven minutes when McKay latched on to a short back pass from a Norwich defender that she delivered towards the far post but Striker Joanne Rutherford just couldn’t get that vital touch to knock it in.
Twenty minutes later Town took the lead after Nicola Henman fired a superb ball out to McKay on the left flank and her quick feet took her around the goalkeeper and she slotted the ball into an empty net.
The Yellows looked dangerous from set pieces and almost caught the Hatters out six minutes later with a low free kick from Paige Shorten that Bryony Radley flicked on but Angelika Kopec made an excellent save to refrain it from going into the bottom left corner.
Town should have extended their lead before the break however the Yellows goalkeeper Fiona Coombes made two exceptional saves to deny attempts from Erica Byron and Henman just before the interval.
Norwich came out battling in the second half and scored an equaliser just two minutes after the break as Kyla Love squared the ball to Wiseman who poked it into the bottom left corner.
The Yellows went in front 11 minutes later and managed to hold on to their lead as they scored in similar style to their first goal after Aimee Durrant crossed the ball into Wiseman who tapped it in past Kopec from close range.
After the game Baker said: “The last three games we played against teams all battling relegation so we expected them to put up a fight.
“It was a game of two halves. The first half I thought was some of the best football we have played all season.
“We moved the ball very well, with pace and tempo, one touch at times. We should of been 2/3 up had it not of been for a couple of very good saves.
“But the second half we allowed them to get at us and seemed to lose all the confidence we had”.