Fakenham Ladies in seventh heaven at Stalham

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Stalham Ladies 0 Fakenham Ladies 7

Fakenham travelled to Stalham on Sunday for their league fixture with only 11 players.

Fakenham Ladies kicked off and showed their intent by going straight on the attack putting through current top goal scorer Lozz Matthews to run on and meet the ball, but she was closed down before she could unleash a shot on goal.

Even though Fakenham were dominating the opening encounters, their back four had to remain vigilant with the threat from Stalham’s top scorer Emma Ward who was constantly looking to latch on to the long ball.

Nina Batchelor led the defence well which stifled the very few opportunities Stalham created on the counter attack. In the 19th minute, the deadlock was broken with Fakenham’s industrious Vicki Lubbock linking well with striker Sam King, who sent an excellent flick over the keeper into the back of the net.

Just three minutes later Fakenham doubled their lead with some great interchanges between the midfield trio of Vicki Lubbock, Vikki Riddiford and Nat Wright, who sent a perfect pass beyond the defence into the pacey Matthews, who calmly slotted the ball past the outstretched keeper.

Both Fakenham full-backs Roxy Bailey and Jemma Riches were winning key battles against the Stalham wingers and it was from a Riches interception which sent Sian Sands down the right, who used her strength to drive forward to play a superb cross into Lubbock who finished with precision.

Fakenham were playing attractive football and creating many openings with the lively Sam King controlling a crossfield pass from Sands only to see her powerful shot flash inches wide.

The second half kicked off and again it was the away team who started strongest. Sands was a constant menace to the full-back and it was her great wing play which set up captain Wright, who turned the defender with ease and powered the ball past the goalkeeper.

There was no let up for the Stalham defence as four minutes later there was some more attacking play with Wright, who played a crisp pass into King, who unleashed a ferocious first time shot into the back of the net to double her total.

Sophie Lubbock performed well as stand-in goalkeeper. On the hour mark, Fakenham’s Nina Batchelor got injured in a heavy challenge forcing her off and leaving Fakenham to play the last half hour with 10 players, but this did not stop the intense waves of Fakenham attacks.

In the 69th minute, it was 0-6, this time King turning provider and once again linking well with Vicki Lubbock who held off the challenge and slotted past the stranded goalkeeper.

Wright played the captain’s role with some tough tackling and caused the Stalham defence problems with her great range of passing from midfield. The 74th minute came when Fakenham scored their seventh, with Matthews and Riddiford combining well down the left to provide a chipped cross into the penalty area where Vicki Lubbock controlled superbly on her chest and struck a volley into the roof of the net to complete a brilliant hat-trick.

Fakenham never took their foot off the pedal and it was only through some great saves by the home goalkeeper in the last few minutes to prevent Fakenham adding to their tally.

Fakenham’s player of the match was Sian Sands. Fakenham are next in action at Clipbush Park on Sunday, with Stalham the visitors for the reverse league fixture.