Genero Adran Premier League
Abergavenny Women FC 2 The New Saints FC Women 4
AFTER a frustrating run of results, the Pennies looked for the breakthrough where their effort was blessed with good fortune – but the wait continues after a battling home loss, writes ANDREW KENNEDY.
New manager Josh Anderson saw red for two yellow cards after a hotly disputed foul in the box saw Pennies penalty appeals waved away.
And a glance at the Genero Adran Premier table now reveals no league points in the first three Pennies’ outings, pretty stark reading.
While two of those games saw points within their grasp, the cold facts could lead visiting sides to think that Pen-Y-Pound is a happy hunting ground.
The away side this time was the most northerly of league foes, TNS of Oswestry Town and Llansantffraid, more than 90 miles away, and they proved hungry.
Some 22 different players have seen Pennies’ action so far, and the side has had a change of team boss too.
Two weeks into his new role, Anderson had Ellis Lunn and Meg Stanton available in addition to Lyndsey Davies and Lauren Boyd in the starting XI to press forward, but was without last week’s star Alana Murphy and also Eliza Atkins.
That said, the core is stable and keen, and training is reportedly fruitful and buoyant.
The season has seen some great action, but so often it is the opposition that gain ground first.
Sadly, once again the opposition looked on point from the outset and the home side were kept busy in their own half, or unable to create effective attacks.
Within 15 minutes, defender Jamelia Davies was off with an injury and Mali Summers came off the bench, and then two minutes later a tackle in the box saw a TNS player tumble and the referee point to the spot.
The home side was indignant that it was “no pen”, but the decision stood.
And Beth Lewis stepped up to shoot right while the Pennies’ No 1 Charlotte Hastings went right too as the back of the net rippled for an early set-back for Abergavenny.
The Pennies’ first match under Josh Anderson saw a two-goal deficit wiped out before a narrow 3-2 loss, but it was TNS who continued to dominate.
And on 25 minutes a corner ball from Caitlin Chapman found the head of Isobel Redding and again the Pennies’ net rippled.
Then at 41 minutes Chantelle Teare committed the keeper, opened up the space and then offered a ball across the goalmouth to Danielle Staley who duly put TNS 3-0.
Yet again, the Pennies found better rhythm in the second half, with Caitlin Davies brought on to offer her push-forward mentality, while Ellis Lunn in particular was regularly reaching the opposition’s goal.
And Lunn’s perseverance paid off in the 51st minute – the assist from Mali Summers followed by determined running and out-pacing on the right wing to leave the task purely between Ellis and TNS goalie Sarah Parkes, with the Pennies player coolly lifting the ball into the top of the net for her first Adran Premier goal.
The fightback was on, but the lack of a penalty given against TNS (in near identical circumstances to that given earlier to TNS) saw tensions rise on 67 minutes.
Craig Morgan-Hill, who is now head of development, was reprimanded by the ref on the touchline, while Josh Anderson gained a yellow card and then immediately another to be dismissed.
The Pennies were now back in the hands of former boss Morgan-Hill and continued to push.
Even a 90th-minute goal for TNS’ Caitlin Chapman making it 4-1 did not conclude business, with the at times bruising action leading to a lengthy period of injury time.
Three players from each team were substituted after the 84th minute, including the TNS goalie, Libby Rubin coming on to soon face a near worldie from Pennies’ captain Ceri Hudson.
But while the ball hit the bar, flying skyward as Rubin fell backwards into the net, it was the quick thinking Lunn that rushed fastest to the descending ball to lightly head in for her second goal.
There was no celebration as the referee didn’t at first call it, instead looking to the linesman, but surely it had to stand, and it did to make it 4-2.
But with the time at 90+7 the Pennies simply ran out of time.
While some may say the Pennies were short-changed, few would argue that TNS proved the stronger across the game and justly took the spoils.
This Sunday (October 8) the Pennies host Tier 2 outfit Swansea University Women FC in the FAW Women’s Cup, entry free, kick-off 2pm.
* Pennies back Blood, Sweat and Cheers campaign – P??