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Reserves denied by late sucker punch; WOMEN'S FOOTBALL.

NEWCASTLE United's Women were denied the chance to edge away from the foot of the FA Women's Premier League table as the rain forced their relegation six-pointer at home to Leeds to be postponed.

Across the city, however, the reserve team game against Sheffield FC got the go-ahead on Sunday afternoon. After an excellent start to the season, Newcastle's second string sat sixth in the rFA Women's Premier League Reserve North table, having played considerably fewer games then the rest of the division.

On Sunday they faced secondplaced Sheffield. Newcastle showed their strength early, with Lauren Driver having a goal chalked off for offside, despite replays from the club's TV channel suggesting Driver was onside.

Newcastle continued to dominate the first half, with the midfield trio of Jaz Trundley, Rachel Vassallo and Claire Pitt controlling the game.

Captain Amy Perch had the best chance of the half, whipping in a left-wing free-kick across the six-yard box, but there was no Newcastle player gambling at the front post and the visitors keeper claimed easily. Newcastle continued their dominance in the second half, and were duly rewarded on the hour mark when winger Jade Anderson was left unmarked at the back post to fire into the top right-hand corner after some excellent play by Vassallo.

Newcastle had chances to double the lead through Anderson and Driver, but both were denied.

The sucker punch came on 89 minutes, when the referee gave a dubious free-kick to the visitors. The free-kick was played short, before a strike on goal was converted by centreforward Ashton Crouch.

It was a truly undeserved blow for the home side. Captain Perch said: "I know for many it felt more like a defeat but we have to look at the positives, of which there were many."

"We played some great football and held our own throughout the game. We kept Sheffield's lively midfield at bay and limited them to very few chances. It was a great team performance and a very encouraging first game back after the Christmas lay-off.

"If we can take this week's attitude and performance into next week's game away at Leeds, I am more than confident that we can come away with all three points."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 29, 2014
Words:370
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