On the back of last week’s narrow cup victory over Cambridge University, the Rutland girls trekked across to Newmarket on Saturday as they returned to league action.
Newmarket held the edge in last season’s meetings between the teams, and there was some notable anxiety in the Rutland ranks during the opening minutes.
After some scrappy tackling and poor passing it seemed inevitable that Newmarket would take the lead but fortunately debutant goalkeeper Lauren Bradshaw was equal to everything that was thrown at her.
Rutland did as usual look dangerous on the counter, and it was through a break away attack that they took the lead, perhaps slightly against the run of play. Penny Skipper drove the ball to the baseline before passing to a well placed Natalie Grundy to finish.
Newmarket came out after the half-time break in determined fashion and soon equalised after several successive short corners.
The Rutland girls began to turn the tide though, as their midfield players began to link together and pile on the pressure searching for the second goal.
It took the return of Natalie Grundy, after a brief breather, to the pitch for Rutland to finally score from one of their opportunities.
Receiving the ball at the top with her back to goal, there appeared to be little on, but a neat turn and hammer-blow of a shot left the goalkeeper little chance.
Lucy Eayrs had been demonstrating her customary robust defending skills all match, but took the tiring legs of the Newmarket team as an opportunity to drive the length of the pitch and score a third goal for Rutland.
With the score at 3-1 and only 10 minutes left on the clock, the Rutland side perhaps thought it was safe to relax – not so though, as Newmarket managed to score a lucky own goal.
Cue the alarm bells, but they hung on, getting the Newmarket monkey off their backs and opening up some clear water at the summit of the Premier division table.
Rutland: Lauren Bradshaw (GK), Lucy Eayrs, Nicki Perry, Katie Richardson (C), Kim Cooil, Rachel Richardson, Anne Pollock, Sarah Sissins, Kerry Rough, Nat Grundy, Penny Skipper, Jen Pollock.
Rutland Ladies 2nds 3 Cambridge City 4ths 0
A youthful seconds with only one player aged over 15 took to the field against a much older Cambridge side in the morning’s pushback at Uppingham.
They weren’t fazed by the age gap and created several opportunities before Maeve MacDonald opened the scoring.
With her sister Oonagh shining in defence, Rutland were looking good and Fiona Ginn added to their lead after a nice interchange with Molly King and Charlie Crombie.
In the second half, the away side started to create more problems, but they failed to convert their own chances and Rutland landed the sucker punch with two minutes to go, Molly King finishing from a seemingly impossible angle after some pleasing approach play from Megan Wright and Becci Glover.
Rutland Ladies 2nds: Tani Lanur (GK), Ellie Hemmings, Alex Haggis, Lucy Ginn (C), Megan Wright, Jess Hayward, Gemma Hall, Molly King, Fiona Ginn, Becci Glover, Maeve Macdonald, Oonagh Macdonald, Amy Hall, Alice Cracknell, Charlie Crombie.