Mill Lane United Blues met Pinefleet in closely fought a top of the table clash.
The opening exchanges were dominated by a midfield battle without any clear-cut chances falling to either team.
Spurred on by skipper Abbie Longley, Mill Lane’s midfield of Longley, Skie Wyatt, Amy Dodds and Millie Sharp began to build momentum when Pinefleet’s keeper made a brave save at the feet of Hannah Winter following fine work and cross from Natalie Bell.
The deadlock was broken eight minutes into the game when Mill Lane’s Amy Dodds managed to force the ball home from close range. Pinefleet wasted no time with their response as two minutes later a break on the left produced a fine finish to draw level at 1-1.
Midway through the first-half Mill Lane’s hard-working striker, Natalie Bell, was rewarded for her efforts when she pounced on a rare Pinefleet defensive mistake and restored Mill Lane’s lead with a clinical finish.
Mill Lane introduced Kim Ward into their midfield as the defensive line-up of Olivia Johnson, Jess Wright, Cordie Cavill and Lauren Hartley stood firm shutting Pinefleet out to take Mill Lane into the half time break with a 2-1 lead.
Mill Lane’s Madeleine Wells and Ella Parker came on for the re-start with the game still very much in the balance. Lane extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Natalie Bell’s corner was met at the near post by Kim Ward’s volley, which flew into the back of the net.
Annabel Laughton introduced into the Mill Lane defence made a number of timely tackles as Pinefleet pushed forward. Pinefleet continued to pick up their tempo, when Mill Lane couldn’t clear the ball from the edge of the penalty area, the ball eventually broke Pinefleet’s way to score their second goal of the game with just under 20 minutes to play.
With just one goal separating the teams both sides were holding nothing back. Mill Lane went close twice, firstly, when Millie Sharp’s low drive hit the side netting, then Abbie Longley’s defence splitting pass found Amy Dodds only to see her shot hit the post.
Pinefleet continued to look dangerous on the break. Mill Lane Keeper Leah Shalgosky raced off her line to clear the ball just ahead of the oncoming Pinefleet striker, and in the dying minutes, Olivia Johnson made two excellent tackles preventing goal scoring opportunities.
In the end Mill Lane held on to their 3-2 lead to maintain their 100% record and top spot.
Both teams deserved great credit for the quality of football played. Players of the match were Mill Lane’s Annabel Laughton and Kim Ward.