Relief for Norwich City Ladies striker Vicki Stephens
MK Dons Ladies 3 Norwich City Ladies 1
Norwich City Ladies were left to rue two decisions that went against them in a South East Combination League clash which finished two minutes early because of an injury to striker Vicki Stephens.
Stephens suffered a head injury and lay motionless in the area, but City manager Emma Fletcher had good news after the game.
'It was a disappointing result at the end of the day, but we have won six of our opening nine games and are currently in third place in the league – and I am happy to report that Vicki Stephens has been given the all clear,' she said.
City, beginning a run of away games after a week off, went behind after the assistant referee ruled that keeper Fiona Coombes handled the ball outside the penalty area from a drop-kick. With the opening exchanges having yielded little in front of goal, MK took the opportunity, Heather McDonell firing the ball high over the wall from the free-kick, giving Coombes no chance.
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That's the way it stayed at half-time, but City started the second half brightly and were determined to level the scores and within 10 minutes of the restart, Anna Larkins' free-kick played Nadine Basson through and she sprinted past the defence before calmly volleying the ball past the oncoming keeper.
City looked the most likely to take the lead until another big decision went against them, with the other assistant referee signalling a penalty for the hosts after Emily Mann was fouled, Charlie Wright making it 2-1 from the spot.
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Sasha Diston nearly managed to equalise when she turned and volleyed, only for the ball to be blocked, and with City camped in the Dons half and only two at the back, were open to the counter-attack. The game was sealed when Dons broke and scored a third, through Bryony Levitt, leaving City a mountain to climb.