Harlow Town Ladies face their toughest game of the Challenge Cup as they make the journey to Bedfordshire on Sunday to face fellow-Premier Division side Bedford.
The Hawks currently sit top of Group B, having won 2 out of 2 games in the Cup so far. Their run in the cup began with a 7-0 thrashing of Division One South side Wodson Park, with Hannah Porter, Chloe Bassett, Ash Deacon, Ellie Manning, Georgia Box, Olivia Steele and Amy Drew contributing to the scoreline before they one-upped their run by scoring eight past East Bergholt United with no reply. It was an empathic first half performance from the Hawks. Chloe Bassett had broken the deadlock in the 25th-minute from the spot before a further three-goals were added in the space of 10-minutes, with Georgia Box scoring two and Olivia Steele also scoring. Lindsey Morgan opened her Harlow account just before half-time with a long-range effort before Steele took her total to four for the afternoon with a second-half hattrick.
Bedford sit just behind the Hawks in the table on goal-difference. The B’s campaign began with a narrow win over Division One side King’s Lynn Town on the road as they won 3-2. A brace from Natasha Fensome as well as a goal for Gemma Franklin was enough for the three-points before Bedford had little trouble in their second game, thrashing Wodson Park by 6-goals to nil. In that game, Natasha Fensome got a further brace while Gemma Franklin, Mathilda Filder, Setor Acolatse and Freya Hobbs also scored.
The last time the sides met came during the 2019/20 season as the Hawks were narrow victors over Bedford in the last game for both sides before the season was curtailed. Both Georgia Box and Natasha Fensome had scored a hattrick for their respective sides but it was additional goals from Tayla Handscomb and Amy Nash that gave the Hawks victory over Bedford, with the score finishing 5-4. Jasmine Ajayi got the only other goal for the visitors.
Speaking ahead of the game, Nicole Farmer said, “The mood in camp is really good. I think confidence is building back up within the squad and with each game, we are getting better. Ruudy coming in as a coach has brought a great intensity to training and we had a top session with him on Wednesday.”
“The last two games have taken us a good 20-minutes to get into our stride, but I think we’ve played some good football at times. I think Bedford will be tougher as their a well-organised side and always give us a good game.”
“The girls want to win (the Cup), especially after the last two-season being declared null and void. It would be nice to win something. Saying that, I think the three-points on Sunday would be massive for us as we want to finish top and go through to the finals day.”
Also looking ahead to Sunday, Lindsey Morgan added, “This cup had been great for me to settle into the team. The girls, Dean and the coaching staff have all been so welcoming, I already feel like I’ve been here longer than a few weeks.”
“We have had two great results and the games have been good to get everyone back playing, the girls have a great togetherness and work for each other. This competition is also about getting everyone minutes and building for the new season. We know Bedford will be tough and a real test for us. We trained well this week in preparation, and we know the winner of this game will potentially go through to the next round, so it’s all to play for. The girls will be focused and ready as we are for every game.”
The game at the Eyrie will be played behind closed doors and with our united stance in tackling discrimination on social media, there will be no updates of the game on any of our social media. Instead, our report and reaction will be uploaded when the blackout ends on Tuesday!
Photo: Liana Murphy (@notlenny_)