Upton Park Ladies took part in their first-ever match on Sunday as they faced up to Eastern Region Women’s Football League side Stevenage Women Development. The hosts have only been in existence for a few months whilst their visitors have been going since 2009. It was a tough day despite their best efforts.
The game was evenly contested in the opening minutes as both teams settled into the game. The first shot came from the hosts as an effort was fired over before they came close again when a shot was sent just wide after a one-on-one whilst Stevenage had a ball flashed across the goal but no one was close enough to put it in.
Stevenage began to get a foothold on the game as their experience shone through. Several balls had been played through the defence but good goalkeeping and good covering from the defenders prevented the visitors taking the lead. The deadlock was broken in the 23rd-minute when Stevenage’s number 17 slotted home after the keeper spilled a ball from a free-kick. The goal spurred the visitors on as they continued to push but some outstanding keeping kept the hosts within touch. Despite the resolute defending, the lead was doubled in the 45th-minute when their number 9 poked the ball past the keeper.
Right at the end of the 1st half, Stevenage thought they had a third after a looping shot eluded the keeper, but it was ruled offside.
Stevenage continued their domination into the second half as they looked to extend their lead. Only 8-minutes into the second half, they had their third as a ball played across goal was tapped in by their 9 for her second goal.
A couple of minutes later, it was Upton Parks turn to attack and they had the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out for offside. Both sides continued to attack as the game became fairly-even once again. A powerful shot from the edge of the box was saved well before a shot from outside the box was fired wide from Stevenage and a powerful shot from Upton Park was pushed off the line by the Boro keeper.
Although the game was level, performance-wise, through the second half, Stevenage increase their lead. The fourth goal was scored by Boro’s 8 who was causing problems for much of the game. The ball fell to her feet before she smashed it home. A couple of minutes later, history was made for Upton Park as they scored their first goal. The initial shot was saved by the keeper but deflected kindly for the hosts, allowing the goal-scorer to tap-in. The goal from the hosts was fully deserved for the effort they had put into the match, but the goals did not end there. Stevenage scored two-goals in two-minutes as their quality shone through. A free-kick was fired in off the bar before Stevenage’s number 9 completed her hattrick when she slotted in from a ball across goal.
As the game reached added time, both sides continued to push, but the goal action had ended.