The opening stages began with CLS on the front foot and Prudhoe keeper Helen Bambrough did well to make two fine saves early on, including tipping the ball over the crossbar from a great shot outside of the box. The pressure from the visitors eventually paid off with them taking the lead on 15 minutes. Prudhoe then settled into the game after initially being overwhelmed and Sophie Rogers in particular was a real nuisance on the right flank, forcing CLS to double up on her at times when it came to defending. On the half hour mark Prudhoe had their best chance of the half when Samantha Garcia beat her marker and managed to fire off a low shot in the box. The keeper dove well to deflect the shot, but it bobbled just wide of the post for a corner. From the resulting crossed ball Garcia was again in the mix but was crowded out of it with little support and a frantic tussle for the ball led to the keeper eventually gathering it in her arms. Bambrough again pulled off an important save, diving to get her fingertips to a CLS shot that pushed it clear. Though Prudhoe were made to work hard in defence, they had another great opportunity to draw level when Lauren Cannell caught the keeper off her line and went for goal, with her powerful strike beating her but sailing just clear of the crossbar.
Again Chester had the brighter start and looked to have doubled their lead after 10 minutes of the second half, only for it to be ruled offside. This let-off seemed to energise Prudhoe who began getting forward more often, then Samantha Garcia finally got the goal she had been working hard for, turning and chipping the keeper to level the score.
With CLS defending in numbers, Lauren ‘Taxi’ Driver attempted to bypass the solid back four by firing an ambitious shot from distance, but saw it go harmlessly wide. Minutes later she was brought down and given a second chance at a wonder goal, this time coming agonisingly close to taking the lead as the ball thumped the corner of the woodwork just inches from being a perfect free kick.
Rebecca Foster’s team was growing in confidence as the half progressed and did well to keep possession and threaten up front, but this allowed the visitors space to counter and force another fine diving save from keeper Helen Bambrough. As legs began to tire, the pace of Chester allowed them to again take control, scoring a quickfire double against the run of play to go 3-1 ahead. Captain Stephanie Walker was forced off the pitch after a clash left her clutching her leg in agony and the game wound down, with one last ranged effort from Driver.
Thanks to Prudhoe and Northumberland for the Match Report