Luckless Magpies lose FAWNL opener at Portishead Town – Photo 1 of 1

Luckless Maidenhead United Women suffered defeat in their FA Women’s National League opener of the season at Portishead Town following a questionable decision by match officials.

United were well into the game against a home side who were already three games into their season, but halfway through the first half a corner was mistakenly awarded to the hosts on the advice of an assistant referee who was patrolling the touchline on the other side of the pitch. pitch, although the match referee is apparently in a better position to make a decision.

The hosts punished the Magpies by scoring from that corner as Ellie-Mae Bell drove home.

The visitors suffered a pre-match blow ahead of the trip to Somerset when goalkeeper Gemma Harvey was ruled out through injury and with other absences they were only able to name three replacements.

They started the match well enough with Simone O’Brien hitting the target with a free kick before Nat Cowell fired a corner from debutant Rosie Kirby over the top.

At the other end, Lola Pollard saved well at her near post before the game-changing first goal, and minutes after Portishead opened the scoring they were leading by two when Ellie Strippel clinically finished at the end of the a counter-attack.

Tine Brett missed an effort for the Magpies after a corner and Cowell failed to convert after a neat turn and fired in before the Maidenhead striker went close again with an effort on goal that just drifted wide following a cross from Brett.

The mood was therefore positive at half-time but United started the second half slowly when Bell scored from distance. Maidenhead fought back with Cowell seeing his shot saved after an O’Brien pass before Sarah Thompson’s header from O’Brien’s free-kick looked awfully wide with Portishead keeper Paige Horsnell seemingly battered.

A fourth goal from Brooke Stirrup after a defensive confusion was a blow to United who were far more competitive than the final margin would suggest.

There were bright spots, however, with the performances of newcomers Kirby and substitute Rebecca Wilson-Kane, while experienced Alex Dover made his long-awaited return after 714 days out through injury.

Jack C. Nugent