21 November 2017 17:26
Luton Town Ladies escaped with a narrow 3-2 win at Actonians Ladies despite a nervous climax to a compelling contest.
The Hatters overturned a one-goal deficit to lead 3-1 but Alessandra Barreca’s strike sparked a wave of Acton pressure that could have seen the points shared as Luton eventually clung on to secure the victory.
Steph Gale could have broken the deadlock in the first half, first when her swipe towards goal was scrambled clear and shortly after when her volley from the edge of the area dipped just over the bar.
Those two chances were the product of a positive opening to the game by the visitors but the hosts began to threaten- a speculative effort from distance clipped the bar- before a free-kick that wasn’t dealt with allowed Carla Williams to pounce and slide the ball into an empty net.
Luton tried to reassert themselves in the game and having squandered a couple decent opportunities, two Erica Byron corners saw them come from behind to steal the advantage prior to halftime with Dionne Manning poking home initially before an own-goal proved Acton’s downfall.
And things got even better for the Hatters straight after the interval as Gale’s hooked cross back into the danger area was met firmly by skipper Zara Carroll, who extended her side’s lead.
However, the match wasn’t settled yet as the home side wrestled their way back into proceedings and halved the deficit when Barreca came slid in at the back post to convert a ball across the goalmouth.
Dominant and attempting to capitalise on a fractured Luton defence, Acton were denied by a superb double stop from goalkeeper Kezia Hassall as she tipped a dipping shot onto the post before springing up back into action to prevent the forward registering with the rebound.
That sequence of play represented their best chance to rescue a draw as Luton eventually settled down and saw the game out with their victory intact.
After the game Nikki Baker said “It was a vital 3 points today, ones that we really worked hard for. The second half was a graft and we deserved the win. I am especially pleased that we have started to look dangerous once again from set pieces”.
It was important to follow up last weekend’s emphatic FA Cup success at AFC Dunstable Ladies with a league win and next Sunday sees the girls return to Stockwood Park for a clash with Norwich City Ladies, KO 2pm.