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Corby Stewart & Lloyds produced a dramatic fightback on their East Midlands Premier Division debut to steal a point as they denied Friar Lane & Epworth an opening day victory.
Leading by three goals inside 48 minutes, Friar Lane were seemingly in cruise control and coasting towards a comfortable opening day victory before a Louise Allison goal on 70 minutes and Stephanie Donald's strike two minutes later turn the contest on its head as the hosts hauled themselves back into the game.
Lucy O'Byrne fired the visitors ahead on the half hour before Roschelle Shakes netted a brace either side of the break to put Friar Lane well in control. Allison gave the home side some hope on 70 minutes before Stephanie Donald reduced the deficit even further just two minutes later. As the late surge by the home side continued inside the final 20 minutes, Donald bagged the equaliser just two minutes from time to cap an impressive recovery for the newly promoted side. Pacey front runner Shakes, who had caused the home side numerous problems throughout the afternoon, looked to have sealed victory with a fourth goal on 90 minutes for Friar Lane but that was ruled out for a foul.
Corby play host to last season's runners-up Loughborough Dynamo in the only league fixture next weekend and judging by this weekend's performance. they will relish what appears on paper to be a stern test, although manager Mark Norton's nerves may not stand to many dramatic, exciting encounters like this one. Two goals on her league debut capped a great afternoon for proven goalscorer Stephanie Donald who, along with the absent Georgina Sturgess, are bound to keep many defences busy this season as Corby aim to prove they are in the Premier Division to progress and not just to make up the numbers.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Mansfield Town ran out 7-2 winners away to Peterborough Azure to jointly record the biggest victory of the day along with Welbeck Welfare, who defeated Oadby Town by a similar scoreline. Loughborough Foxes beat Rise Park 5-1 whilst Clifton opened up with a 3-1 win against Gedling Town.
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