Lowick United Ladies FC...3
LOWICK went into this game as the only unbeaten team in the league although suffering two successive cup defeats in their previous games, both after extra-time.
Prudhoe are one of the form teams, having led the table earlier in the season. Lowick were missing the injured Michelle Stewart, their leading scorer this season. This led to a new midfield with Sally Dawson joining Robyn Stewart, Jenny Patterson and captain Kirstie Tang.
It was thus a more considered performance with emphasis on the hold-up play of Amy Hateley and support running of Stephanie Hay.
Hay was not her usual self, suffering from a heavy cold and feeling the effects as the game wore on. In the 15th minute, Hateley was fed by Dawson and hit a stunning drive that the keeper could only watch as it rebounded off the crossbar to safety.
The Lowick defence were mainly untroubled, with Cindy Crossman and Jennie Brewis solid at centre-half supported by Jodie Robinson and Katherine Cass at full-back.
All the first keeper Kris Weetch had to do was to collect the ball from her own net after a breakaway through-ball over the top beat the defence for the Prudhoe captain to put away with aplomb in the 25th minute.
Lowick responded immediately within 30 seconds of the kick-off, combining well for Hateley to continue her goal-scoring run with a fine finish from the six-yard box to make it 1-1.
Rachel Smart then made her customary substitute appearance, replacing Hay in the 38th minute.
The second half was a tight affair with both teams attacking at every opportunity, Lowick coming close a few times with corners flying in that were just wide of the keeper.
Hay came back on in the 60th minute to bolster the attack. Hateley was at the centre of every chance and it was no surprise that she hit the post with 25 minutes to go.
A hard but fair challenge saw Hateley fall to the floor holding her head. She had to be substituted by the ever-eager Mozza Purvis, who delighted the crowd by playing a defence-splitting pass from midfield that Smart almost scored with. Lowick’s keeper was also busy and showed great composure and handling to keep Prudhoe at bay.
Purvis made way for the brave Hateley to return with 15 minutes to go. Her aerial strength proved crucial as she ploughed a path for Patterson to get Lowick’s second of the game with 10 minutes remaining when it looked to be heading for a draw.
A Tang free-kick in the 88th minute hit the back of the net to ensure there would not be a repeat of the last-minute misery Lowick had suffered in their last home cup game. Overall, a great battling performance against a strong Prudhoe team keeps Lowick in the hunt for league success.
Player-of-the-match: Jointly Hateley and Stewart.