Cambridge City Ladies 2 Acle United Ladies 1: Title hopes dashed for Acle as three players are sent off
- Credit: Archant
Acle United Ladies' hopes of clinching the ERWFL Premier Division title were dashed with a 2-1 defeat against Cambridge City in Huntingdon.
Playing their third game in six days, Acle knew it was going to be a tough task against second-placed City and after an even start started to assert their influence on the game. Holden won possession before beating two defenders but her shot was saved by the home keeper, then she was dispossessed when about to shoot after good work by Todd.
The hosts' first effort on goal came on 11 minutes via a ball through the centre but Bell in the Acle goal pushed the shot around the post for a corner which was cleared by the Acle defence.
Acle continued to push forward and Bullard pulled a shot just wide of the post, before a long kick from Bell found Todd who beat her marker but also saw her shot go the wrong side of the post.
Despite controlling the midfield through Rowland and Flatt, the visitors had to be on their toes with the speed of the home attackers, but the back four of Filby, Larkins, Shields and Cooper were coping admirably and although they lost possession just outside the penalty area, Bell saved well from a long shot.
The breakthrough finally came four minutes before half-time. Kindred threaded a perfectly weighted through ball to Todd who slid the ball wide of the advancing keeper to give Acle a 1-0 lead at the break.
City had the better of the early stages of the second half and Bell was forced to save at her near post before at the other end Rowland's free-kick was well held by the home keeper.
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As the half progressed, Acle settled down after the home pressure and Scully chasing the ball to the by-line pulled the ball back to Kindred but the keeper saved well at the striker's feet conceding a corner which was easily cleared by City.
Midway through the half, Bell was called into action punching clear a lobbed shot with the rebound fired wide of the target, then saving comfortably from a long shot. From the clearance, Filby starting in her own half beat three players before crossing to Kindred but her glancing header was just wide of the target.
Pushing forward Acle were looking comfortable and Kindred broke on the right fed Holden whose shot was well saved, before Holden forced the home keeper into a better save to prevent Acle from increasing their lead.
With eight minutes remaining of normal time, the hosts equalised. Acle only half cleared an attack and the ball was lobbed over Bell to level the scores.
Then four minutes before full-time the referee sent off three Acle players in the space of three minutes. Flatt was dismissed for a skirmish with a City player on the ground after a challenge, although no action was taken against the home player before Rowland received a second caution for contesting a decision. A minute later Pasque saw red after allegedly swearing at an opponent.
Despite being down to eight players, the Acle defence were holding firm until the third minute of added time when the home team scored from a rebound after Bell had saved well.
Acle United Ladies: A Bell, R Filby, N Cooper, A Rowland, A Larkins, C Shields, M Todd, C Flatt, R Brister, L Holden, L Bullard. Subs used: B Scully, K Kindred, K Pasque. Unused: R Burton.