Acle United Ladies 1 Royston Town Ladies 1: Naomi Cooper on target but Acle have to settle for a point

Megan Todd shields the ball away from a Royston defender during Acle Ladies 1-1 draw. Picture: Acle

Megan Todd shields the ball away from a Royston defender during Acle Ladies 1-1 draw. Picture: Acle Ladies - Credit: Archant

Acle United Ladies lost their chance to make ground on the top two in the Eastern Region Women's Premier Division after being held to a 1-1 draw by Royston Town.

After last week's inactivity and with almost a full squad to pick from, the hosts were able to name Naomi Cooper, a recent signing from Nottingham Forest on the bench.

In wet and windy conditions, it was the visitors who had the first chance of the game, Joanne Hooper saving a header from a Royston free-kick, whilst at the other end, Megan Todd beat three players before putting Lauren Bullard away on goal, but her shot hit the side netting.

Hooper was called into action again after 10 minutes saving a one-on-one, then tipping a shot for a corner as the visitors pushed forward. However, Todd almost put the hosts into the lead, shooting just wide after beating the away keeper to the ball just inside the penalty-area.

Midway through the half, Royston camped in Acle's half, although despite their possession and territorial advantage, they were unable to trouble the home keeper.

With around 10 minutes left before the break, debutant Cooper replaced Jade Copeman and made an instant impact on the game. Starting a move in her own half, which also involved Kirstie Kindred and Todd, the Acle full-back's shot beat the Royston keeper despite a good attempt to save it.

Buoyed by taking the lead, it was the hosts turn to hold the upper hand, but Todd and Bullard failed to convert half chances and Acle went into the interval with a slender 1-0 lead.

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Within three minutes of the restart, the visitors had equalised. The home defence allowed the Royston striker too much space and the ball was fired into the top corner. A minute later, Bullard was put away on goal but the Acle wide player shot straight at the away keeper.

Todd then forced a save from the Royston keeper and from an Amber Rowland corner, Todd fed Bullard, but her shot was just over the bar. The hosts missed a good chance to take the lead when, from a throw-in, Rowland put Todd away, but the Acle striker shot into the side netting when a square ball to Burton or Kindred may have been a better option.

The hosts continued to push forward and the Royston keeper was forced into action saving shots from Laura Holden, Todd and Kindred, as Acle looked to regain the lead.

Royston had a golden opportunity to steal all three points, but their striker fired wide with just Hooper to beat, before both keepers made saves in the dying minutes as the sides shared the spoils at the final whistle.

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

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