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Women's Football News
The top two teams in the Midlands Combination table beat the wintery conditions on Sunday at Park Hall in Oswestry to produce a thriller in which Coventry City emerged as 4-2 winners over TNS & Shrewsbury Town.
Sleet fell throughout onto the banks of snow at pitchside, but the 3G pitch had been cleared and Coventry were able to go three points clear at the top after a highly entertaining match.
The home side used their familiarity with the surface to produce intricate passing movements all over the pitch but were unable to take enough of the chances they created . Coventry were twice behind but were lifted by two superb individual goals at crucial moments in the match.
TNS & Shrewsbury took the lead in the 11th minute when Alicia Robinson lofted a cross shot over Coventry keeper Adele Rodgers from the edge of the box. The home side should have been further ahead shortly afterwards but an Abi Cottam cross was missed by two players in front of goal.
Coventry came back into the contest with Jade Formaston prominent on the right, but the nearest they had come to an equaliser was a Helen Dermody free kick which flew just over, until right on half time when full back Abby Cockayne sent in a high first time cross which struck the far post and rebounded in.
Strengthened by this, the away team attacked from the restart with a Cristina Torkildsen header from a corner hitting the post on 47 minutes but it was TNS who retook the lead on the hour through an unfortunate own goal. Another sweeping build up left Robinson clear and, in trying to intervene, Jenni Lowe sliced into her own net from 20 yards.
A telling substitution turned the match as Emily Hanson broke clear on the left and outpaced the defence to score after being on the field for only 35 seconds! Coventry immediately struck again with a superb 25-yard strike by Torkildsen on 67 minutes. The home side were far from beaten and could have equalised from a penalty given for a foul on Cottam but Stacey Davis struck the angle of post and bar with ten minutes remaining. The Sky Blues wrapped up the points late on with a great solo goal from Danni Saulter who skipped past three tackles and slid the ball past Sarah Martin in the home goal to seal the win.
The match was an excellent advert for the Midland Combination as both teams showed great skill and determination and the match was decided only by moments of individual brilliance. Coventry moved clear at the top and must have a good chance of promotion, though Derby County, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers have games in hand on them. TNS & Shrewsbury played some delightful football at times and will give any team in the division a stern test.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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