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Date Posted: 09:12:40 09/02/02 Mon
Author: Ilkeston Ladies
Author Host/IP: 213-99-170-158.uc.nombres.ttd.es / 213.99.170.158
Subject: Ilkeston Ladies 0 Highfields Leicester 4

FUNNY OL' GAME

Venue The Stag, Kimberley

Blazing sunshine with temperatures in the mid 70s for this opening league fixture of the season. A cracking contest was expected and that it was despite the scoreline indicating otherwise in a funny old game as they say.

Opening exchanges were pretty even and the first real opportunity fell to Sue Smith but the Highfields striker's attempt on goal was well blocked by Janine Scothern. In the 11th minute Ilkeston won a corner on the right and it was swung over as usual by the left boot of Helen Richards. Somehow the ball managed to evade everyone and then 5 or 6 attempts on the Highfields goals were all blocked in the space of 10 seconds. New keeper Hayley Wilson was called into action in the 14th minute with a brave save at the feet of Sue Smith. A minute later Ilkeston were awarded a free kick and Helen Richards blasted the ball just over from 22 yards. For the next 10 minutes of the game it was all Ilkeston until a clearance was met by the oncoming Steph Riley whose fearsome drive from 30 yards was hit with such venom the home keeper had little chance as it flew just under the bar to give the visitors a 0 - 1 lead. Back came Ilkeston playing some attractive football and yet again several close range efforts were blocked in the space of a few seconds. In the 34th minute Tara Phelan had a super strike from the right hand corner of the area which was heading into the left hand corner of the net which resulted in a fine save from Jeannette Cave. Soon after a wonderful flowing move down the right from Amanda Smith to Michelle Smith to Nikki Sheldon preceded a right wing cross to Vicki Lines whose strike from the spot was thwarted by a defender. Immediately down the other end it went and Sue Smith broke into the penalty area and what looked like a certain goal was saved by an excellent last ditch tackle by Janine Scothern 7 yards out. In the 39th minute Sue Smith managed to turn Janine for the first time and the deadly marksman needs no second invite as she chose to plant the ball in the bottom right hand corner. Almost straight from the kick off Ilkeston played through Marie Wayne whose pace left defenders in her 30 yard run, however just inside the area instead of firing home she unselfishly chose to roll in Vicki Lines who finished off the move only to be ajudged marginally offside. Highfields double their lead just before the break when Sue Smith was allowed to run unchallenged down the left before firing into the top left hand corner for 0 - 2. In first half injury time it was Marie again with a blast from the edge of the area which beat the keeper but cannoned back off the crossbar and the follow up shot went inches wide of the right post.

Soon after the restart a right wing cross was dropped by the visiting keeper, but fortunately she fell on the ball. In the 52nd minute another nice Ilkeston move saw Shelley Smith clean through on goal but to be thwarted by another marginal offside decision. In the 56th minute Marie Wayne ran 40 yards with the ball before rolling in Nicky Smith who thrilled the crowd with a Maradona turn round the fullback, but her strike went - you guessed it - agonisingly just wide of the right post. Back came Highfields again with another solo run from Sue Smith and firm strike to make it 0 - 3. In the 58th minute Kerry Spencer was booked for not her first tackle from behind on Shelley Smith. Shelley was also needlessly booked for her retaliatory handbags. From the resulting free kick the ball went down the right and Vicki Lines crossed for Nicky Smith who this time tried a bicycle kick which went wide. In the 61st minute Vicki Lines got on the end of a high cross and her first time volley from around the penalty spot went just wide. Jane Burke picked up a yellow card for arguing with the referee in the 64th minute. Kirsty Jarrett replaced Nikki Sheldon for Ilkeston in the 67th minute. In the 68th minute Vicky Lines had a good opportunity in the area but fired straight at Jeannette Cave. A minute later Nicky Smith received the ball on the left before stepping right and smashing a 20 yard drive towards the top right hand corner, but yet again the Highfields keeper made a super save. A couple of minutes later Marie Wayne had a similar strike a little further out and again Jeannette Cave made a wonderful stop. A golden opportunity for Ilkeston arose in the 71st minute when Janine Scothern only had the keeper to beat from 10 yards but she blasted wide to the left. In the 79th minute a needless free kick was given away by Shelley Smith and from 35 yards another wonder strike from Steph Riley saw the ball fly at great speed into the top right hand corner to make it 0 - 4. Janine Scothern pushed forward for Ilkeston and in the 85th minute received the ball at her feet at close range only to see the Highfields keeper bravely dive at her boots to block yet another goalbound attempt. With time running out Nicky Smith rolled in Vicky Lines on the left and she smashed the ball against the crossbar. In injury time Emma Dowey came on for Marie Wayne who had injured her foot.

Before the start of this game everyone knew Ilkeston were going to make a lot more passes than Highfields. Ilkeston also had approximately four times as many as attempts on goal as the opposition. Unfortunately this counts for nothing as it is only goals that count. This was an excellent game well officiated and though the scoreline was cruel as one linesman pointed out "I've only been to the Ilkeston goal line twice in the entire game". "The Reds" must take heart from many good points in this game and when the new players bed in and Sam Taylor returns from suspension - some team is going to get hit for a hatful. Today it was credit to Highfields for a good display of counter attacking and brilliant goal keeping.

Elsewhere on opening day Loughborough Students were beaten 4 - 0 at home by Lichfield Diamonds. Shrewsbury Town had a 3 - 1 home victory over Coventry City. Points were shared at Peterborough UTD in a 1 - 1 draw with Stafford Rangers. Newcomers Bridgnorth had a 3 - 0 home win over neighbours Telford.

Team: Hayley Wilson, Natalie Ennis, Helen Richards, Janine Scothern, Amanda Smith, Marie Wayne (90), Tara Phelan, Shelley Smith, Nikki Sheldon (67), Nicky Smith, Vicky Lines,
Subs: Kirsty Jarrett(67), Emma Dowey(90), Diane Szeniawski
MVP: Janine Scothern for a courageous debut in defence

This Sunday 8 September Seniors are away to Lichfield Diamonds at Friary High School, Eastern Avenue, Lichfield. KO 2pm.

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