06 October 2017 16:08
Wednesday night’s offering of FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One action certainly didn’t disappoint, as more than three-hundred supporters witnessed a remarkable game at Kenilworth Road that saw Luton Town Ladies triumph 5-4 over Denham United Ladies.
The bright lights and the grand stage of the famous stadium inspired some sensational goals and spritely attacking football- albeit with questionable defending.
It was the visitors who seized the initiative early on with Lauren Cox bending in a free-kick on seven minutes.
Joanne Rutherford possesses one the best left-foot's in the league and almost showcased that with a dead-ball strike of her own that drifted just wide.
It was Town’s lackadaisical clearances that were perpetrating their own problems as Denham almost capitalised on a couple errors.
That would become immaterial, however, when Jess McKay restored parity to the contest with a moment of genuine quality. She collected the ball from thirty-five yards out and whipped her shot magnificently into the top corner.
Such a wonderful goal set the standard for the evening. And Rutherford was more than willing to meet it; she lobbed the goalkeeper from a similar distance to give the Hatters the lead.
Despite that strike coming just six minutes prior to the interval, the hosts somehow headed into the break behind. Denham equalised with a bullet header from Cox for her second of the game and when a free-kick was allowed to all the way through to the back post, it was bundled in by Jenny Banfield.
The start of the second period was fairly tepid until a perplexing incident saw the contest explode into life once again. Funmi Babalola’s cross-come-shot struck the bar and rebounded back off Rutherford seemingly over the line; the match continued before a stoppage in play saw the referee and linesman confer and the goal was awarded.
The home side were firmly on top but were lacking invention in the final third. It took a set-piece to finally breach the Denham rearguard midway through the half when McKay bagged her second, slotting her header into the bottom corner from a good delivery into the box.
Their lead renewed, it was now a case of finishing their opponents off. Rutherford had an opportunity as she controlled Dionne Manning’s cross expertly, turned and fired into goalkeeper. One of the towering striker’s typical in-swinging corners also nearly crept in, but narrowly went over.
And the Hatters’ profligacy was punished with nine minutes remaining. Out of nowhere, Denham sent a direct ball forward into the right-hand channel and Kayleigh Currivan latched onto it and watched her shot trickle over the line.
Teenage goalkeeper Grace Brooks was stretchered off due to an injury sustained as that goal was scored.
The delay caused by that meant there was plenty of additional time. Town only required a minute of it to secure victory though; Jess McKay completed her hat-trick in a manner that epitomised the contest as she curled the ball mesmerically into the top corner from distance.
Had Manning got greater purchase and direction on her shot from an angle after a mistake from the goalkeeper, the scoreline could have been more convincing for the home side but ultimately the five goals were enough.
The ladies truly grasped their opportunity to play at such a terrific ground and secured a first in four league games, courtesy of some sumptuously taken goals.