Nettleham are having a pretty successful league campaign to date sitting 2nd in the East Midlands Regional Premier having played 11, won 9 and lost 2. Rise Park LFC their opponents from neighbouring Nottinghamshire were the bottom placed team in the league having yet to seal a win had played 11, drawn 4 and lost 7. Has to be noted however closer examination of Rise Park's results shows they are only getting beaten by the odd goal and are not getting rolled over in matches so Nettleham certainly couldn't take anything for granted as kitted out in sky blue their opponents in dark blue shirts and socks with black shorts got the match under way.
Nettleham had the strong wind at their back as they attacked Rise Park's goal I was told this was a much changed starting XI for the home side with players away or unavailable and two loanee's were making debuts others playing out of their usual position. Stacey Ainsthorpe was one player I recognised from her Lincoln days and it was she up front who was causing Rise Park some problems shaking off her marker to receive the ball then turn and drive at goal. With the wind in their favour corner kicks would cause problems if well delivered one whipped in from the left early on was knocked down in the box only for the keeper to parry it away finding a Nettleham player the shot was blazed over the bar.
Soon after another corner from the right found Ainsthorpe at the back post but she could only nod the ball wide of goal. In fact Ainsthorpe was looking to get a shot in on goal at the earliest opportunity ran off her marker into the box then dragged the shot wide. Play was well and truly in Rise Park's half of the pitch the away side could not find an outlet. That said for all their dominance Rise Park's keeper had had very little to save the home side's attempts often early were long range and off target. The visitors had a rear foray into Nettlehams penalty box but captain Katie Davison playing a centre back was quick to intecept the ball and clear the danger.
The half was coming to a close Rise Park had done well to frustrate Nettleham it looked like the half would end goalless however Nettleham won a corner from the left the previous deliveries had been dangerous this one was perfect into the six yard box came off the back of Ainsthorpe's head and into the net.
Half time 1-0
Nettleham kicked off the 2nd half without Ainsthorpe with loan signing Ashton Crouch moving into the advanced role the game was instantly more open Rise Park had been working hard to frustrate Nettleham and keep them out with a goal conceded it seemed to open them up had players willing to make runs use the wind now in their favour like Nettleham had. Nettleham in turn were having plenty of joy down the flanks particulary the right play was spread further on the pitch Nettleham no longer able to defend the half way line made for a more even contest.
Rise Park got players up and around the box Nettleham allowed them to have space for a shot but the effort rolled just the wrong side of the post. Nettlehams Zuzana Pramukova out on the left wing had a run on goal the shot was lifted over the bar. Some determined blocking of Nettleham shots kept them in the game It was another set piece that was to bring Nettlehams 2nd goal this time from loan signing Ashton Crouch pictured below the ball driven from the edge of the box through the crowded penalty box and into the net the 2nd picture is that rare occasion where I actually capture the moment a goal is scored...
This result leaves Nettleham on 49 goals so far this season and I understand a box of chocolates is the prize for the player who gets the 50th... so the next game might be a little competitive I shall be looking out to see who wins.