Harlow Town bowed out of the FA Women’s Cup as they faced a tough defeat at home to Ipswich Town Women. The damage had been done in the first-half but after a much improved second-half, the girls can hold their heads high.
In the early moments of the match, the Hawks looked more like scoring as they settled down the quickest. They tried to pass the ball between the lines but couldn’t find an opening before Amy Nash fired a free-kick towards goal but Lucy Williamson held on well. Despite a good start from Harlow, the visitors broke the deadlock in the 5th-minute as Natasha Thomas flicked a header beyond Sarah Walker.
Harlow didn’t have time to settle and two-minutes later, the Tractor girls doubled their lead as Georgia Allen tap home from close range after Walker had spilled the ball. Despite conceding two-goals, Harlow continued to try and get back into the game. Georgia Box had a good chance when she shot from an angle but her shot evaded the top corner before the Ladies tried to break with Amy Nash trying her luck from distance but the shot was just wide. With 15-minutes gone, Ipswich Town had a third. Anna Grey squared the ball to Eloise King, with the forward tapping home from close range to put Town in control. Again, Harlow Town had little time to readjust before Ipswich had scored again. Allen had her second of the game as a ball went through the hands of Walker, allowing her to tap into an empty net.
Being 4-0 down didn’t make the girls drop their heads as a couple of minutes later, they had one back. A corner was whipped in towards the back post and headed in by Ellie Manning. Immediately after, the visitors tried to restore their 4-goal lead and came close as Thomas tried to turn in Paige Peake’s corner but Davina Smith was there to clear the ball off the line.
Harlow had a second in the 26th-minute through Georgia Box as she sent a delightful ball over a stranded keeper and into the net. Both sides tried to come forward but neither created any chances. Anna Grey came the closest to creating another chance as she flashed a cross just past the far post. King had her second of the afternoon as she picked up a loose ball before blasting the ball home. Although they found themselves 5-2 down, Harlow still fought hard as they looked for a way back into the game. The Hawks weren’t far away as the ball was floated towards the back-post by Amy Nash, but Williamson was awarded a foul before anyone could header into the back of the net. The final 5-minutes to the first half proved the toughest period of the game as Ipswich extended their lead by 3-goals. The first goal came in the 40th-minute as Allen scored her hattrick as she fired into the corner. That was followed by a finish by Sophie Peskett as she cut inside to find the bottom corner before Abbie Lafayette rose above everyone to head home from another Peake corner.
The first chance of the second-half came through the visitors as Sophie Peskett run through the defence but her effort was wide of the target. Neither side created any chances for 10-minutes before Ipswich almost increased their lead as another shot was just wide, this time from King.
It had been an improved start to the second-half as the Hawks reduced the chances created by the Blues. Chloe Bassett tried her luck from distance but her shot was wide before a dangerous cross for Ipswich was fired across the face of goal but eluded everyone in the middle. As the clock ticked down, the visitors began to apply the pressure again. Allen sent a shot inches wide of the post before Grey struck the crossbar with a thunderous shot.
With just over 15 to play, Ipswich got their only goal of the second half as Natasha Thomas added to the score. The Town forward turned and fired beyond the Hawks keeper. Harlow looked to get consolation as Fran Gamble shot on the turn but it was safely into the hands of Town’s keeper. Ipswich had a chance towards the end as Abrehart had a shot at the back post but substitute keeper Lauren Nolan-Coggon held on well before the last kick of the game saw Gamble fire a free-kick onto the roof of the net.
For her individual performance in defence, Ellie Manning was the player of the match.