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Women's Football News
A deserved late equaliser for Crawley Wasps from substitute Harriet Minihane meant that neither side took a major step towards reducing Maidstone Town's lead at the top of the South East Counties League Premier Division on Easter Sunday morning at Hassocks.
In an exciting encounter between the second and third placed teams, Wasps had led through a Heidi Tucker penalty on 24 minutes for handball but the skilful Hassocks forwards had created a string of chances during the first half, equalising with a Katie Harding header from a corner just after the half hour.
Harding then gave the locals a deserved half time lead with a low right foot shot from the edge of the area. The tall, powerful forward caused danger every time she got the ball throughout the match but she was unable to complete her hat-trick despite going close several times. Crawley keeper Catherine Poleykett made a brave block when Harding was clean through on 69 minutes and looked certain to extend the lead.
However, Crawley became more and more threatening as they took control of midfield with Rebecca Carter, Suzanne Davies and Minihane attacking an increasingly hard pressed home defence. Charlotte Deeley in the home goal saved two powerful shots with sure handling but the pressure of the pacy young Crawley team, marshalled by the experience of the outstanding Lisa Richards at right back, paid off with the equaliser in the 89th minute.
For once, the Hassocks defenders were unable to clear a bouncing ball and Minihane was left clear to lash home a blistering shot from eight yards past the helpless Deeley, who was left with a hand injury in trying to make the stop.
Several matches between the top four will decide promotion in this competitive league with the two participants in this match and Canterbury City hoping to claw back Maidstone's lead, but the Stones have the advantage at the moment and look likely to secure a second successive promotion.
Hassocks: Charlotte Deeley, Sam Newman, Sonya Nye, Amy Hooper, Nadir Iran, Liz King, Laura Turner, Sarah Charker (sub Birgit Rathbone 53mins), Jenny Greenfield, Emily Hale, Katie Harding, Sub: Emma Young
Crawley Wasps: Catherine Poleykett, Lisa Richards, Jessica Greadley, Michelle Ward, Claire Bavage, Hannah Portwine, Suzanne Davies, Sophia Pittikounis, Naomi Barrett, Heidi Tucker, Rebecca Carter Subs: Mickaela Hogg, Laura Harding, Harriet Minihane.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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