Northampton Town Women celebrated International Women’s Day with a hard-fought 1-0 win over third-placed Sporting Khalsa in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands on Sunday afternoon.
Zoe Boote scored the Cobblers’ goal as they were victorious in front of a record 1,023 supporters at Sixfields Stadium.
The hosts almost made the perfect start as Jade Bell raced through on goal straight from kick-off, but her shot was saved by the onrushing Natalie Hall.
Their bright start continued as Bianca Luttman’s goal-bound header from Fay Noble’s in-swinging corner was blocked on the line five minutes later.
The pace of the game slowed down after Northampton’s initial dominant spell, but they opened the scoring midway through the first half when Boote nodded past ’keeper Natalie Hall and a covering defender from Alex Dicks’ deep cross.
The captain should have doubled her tally and the Cobblers’ lead a quarter-of-an-hour later, but she was denied from close range twice in quick succession by the Sporting Khalsa stopper.
It took until late in the first half for the visitors to threaten, Abbie Brewin sprinting back to block Isabelle Austin-Short’s effort after the winger was found in the area.
They came close again early in the second period, but Luttman cleared Sky Owen’s side-footed effort from the penalty spot off the line.
Northampton created their first opening of the second half on the hour mark, Boote slicing wide at the far post after Kim Farrow flicked-on Brewin’s low cross.
Their opponents missed a great chance to equalise 10 minutes later when substitute Rebecca Hall headed over from a great position.
The Cobblers almost made them pay in the period that followed, but Luttman’s volley was pushed behind by the diving Natalie Hall and Dicks’ header from sub Mia Richards’ far-post corner hit the post.
Josh Oldfield and Liam Williams’ side survived what remained of normal time plus a hefty eight minutes of added time to secure a memorable win over their high-flying opponents.
They host former Barclays Women’s Super League outfit Doncaster Rovers Belles next week. Their opponents were level on points with top-of-the-table Stourbridge at the start of play on Sunday.
Cobblers: Jo Daniel, Sara Wait, Vicky Barrett, Bianca Luttman, Abbie Brewin (sub TJ Warren 90), Fay Noble, Beth Artemiou, Zoe Boote, Jade Bell (sub Abbie Reboul 90), Alex Dicks (sub Rachael Mumford 83), Kim Farrow (sub Mia Richards 62)
Sub not used: Georgia Tear