Billericay Town 4 Acle United Ladies 2: Poor first half performance costs Acle

Action from St Andrews' 2-0 win over Reepham Town. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Action from St Andrews' 2-0 win over Reepham Town. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A below par first half performance saw Acle United return from Essex with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Billericay Town on Sunday afternoon.

It was a disastrous start by the visitors conceding a goal after just 35 seconds. A quick break down the right flank ended with Cyan Fullbrook tipping a shot around the post, but from the corner Billericay headed home and with almost 2 minutes on the clock, the hosts doubled their lead. A long ball through the centre caught out the Acle defence and the home striker outpaced the Acle rear-guard and slotted past a helpless Fullbrook.

Shell-shocked by the hosts start, it took sometime for Acle to get into the game, but they almost pulled a goal back in the 12th minute. Kirstie Kindred saw her shot come back off the post from a throw-in by Cooper.

Megan Todd was causing problems for the home defence down the right flank and after receiving a long ball from Amber Rowland played back to Cooper whose high cross was gathered by the home keeper at the 2nd attempt under pressure from Kindred.

Just before the half-hour mark, Billericay scored a third goal when a long ball over the Acle defence was chased down and the home striker lobbed the onrushing Fullbrook. It was almost 4-0 shortly afterwards, but Fullbrook pulled off an excellent save tipping a close-range header over the bar.

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However, four minutes before half-time a long-range shot flew into the top corner to give the hosts a four-goal lead at the break and a first half Acle would rather forget.

Acle created the first chance of the second half with Ciera Flatt putting Grace Birchall away down the left flank, whose cross was cleared under pressure from Kindred and Todd. At the other end, Fullbrook's clearance rebounded off an attacker for a corner and from the set-piece after a goalmouth scramble the Acle keeper was able gather the ball.

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As the half progressed, Acle were starting to gain the ascendancy and Laura Holden playing the ball forward quickly, created an error from the home defence and Todd pounced to shoot past the keeper. Minutes later, from a Birchall corner, Holden's shot was deflected just past the post.

It was all Acle with the hosts limited to counter-attacks which rarely caused Fullbrook any trouble. At the other end, Kindred, Holden and Todd all forced the home keeper into good saves to keep the deficit at three goals.

However, with 16 minutes remaining, Acle pulled another goal back. Todd chasing down a ball, outpaced the defender and placed the ball through the goalkeeper's legs to complete her brace.

Dominating play Acle pushed forward at every opportunity. Good link up play from Birchall and Todd put in Holden but the shot grazed the outside of the post, then Birchall set up Rowland whose shot was well saved before Holden appeared to be held back going for the rebound.

The hosts were giving away free-kicks under the Acle pressure and Holden saw her shot go just past the post from Broghan Scully's set piece, then Cooper fired over the bar from a long ball by Birchall.

Acle won a succession of corners as the game went into added time but the visitors were able to clear and collect all three points at the final whistle.

Acle United Ladies: S Fullbrook, N Cooper, O Mungham-Gray, C Flatt, K Pasque, C Shields, M Todd, A Rowland, L Holden, K Kindred, L Bullard. Subs used: G Birchall, B Scully, A Larkins. Unused: R Burton.

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