Saturday ,October 6th
(Report and photographs from John Coxon )
Despite narrow defeats from two well established Premiership teams Ipswich 2-1
(away at Tuddenham Road) and at home to Canterbury (losing 3-2 in the last throws of the game), the division newcomers, Poynton, had previously impressed at both games and rattled their more experienced opposition. Clifton had crashed out in their first game of the season to Bowdon Hightown 5-1 and yet, co-incidentally, lost 3-2 against Canterbury where Cathy Gilliat-Smith knocked in the Kent side's winner in the 59th minute from open play.
Poynton could have been forgiven to have been optimistic about the outcome of the game despite being a tad short staffed on the field with key players Helen Armishaw ( off with a broken finger) and Sarah Newman ( through pregnancy.) Clifton went ahead early with a goal in just the third minute in open play from Carla Durnett and the agony was piled on when Juliet Rayden scored, again in open play, six minutes later. Poynton were forced to chase but given little space to play their game with Clifton quickly on to any attacking play and dispossessing the opposition. Carla Durnett scored on 26 minutes from a penalty corner leaving Poynton with everything to do second half. On "just one of those days" Poynton earned a batch of six penalty corners before half time but failed to convert - forcing one good save from the Clifton Keeper, a near miss just past the post and, frustratingly, just a couple of fruitless retakes.
In the second half , 3-0 down , Poynton came out fighting with no option but to chase the game. The team grafted away but they were constantly closed down very quickly and left with very few options. They matched the visitors in terms of ball skills and fitness and to their credit never gave Clifton a clear chance of further increasing the score.
Clifton next take on Olton and West Warwickshire Ladies (who were no doubt buoyed up by their 8-0 win against Exe Ladies in the EH Women's Cup the day after their Poynton win.) at home , Coombe Dingle. Poynton also enjoyed a moral boosting victory in the Cup , knocking out newly relegated from the Prem , Doncaster , 2-0 with goals from Kayleigh Humphries and their prolific scorer, Kath Linaker. Poynton next travel south to Chelmer Park where they meet Chelmsford Ladies. Chelmsford had a narrow win against Old Loughts in their first Prem game of the season but have taken two defeats , beaten 5-1 at home by Slough and 5-3 away to Leicester.
For further action from the game in photographs visit Poynton v Clifton
photo Getty Images