Hatters Ladies suffer a blow in quest for third

Jo Rutherford was on target for Hatters on Sunday
Jo Rutherford was on target for Hatters on Sunday
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Luton Town Ladies’ hopes of a top three finish in the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One were dealt a massive blow as they twice threw the lead away in a 2-2 draw against Ipswich on Sunday.

The result leaves The Hatters in fourth as they now have to hope the top three sides all drop points if they are to secure third place.

Boss Nikki Baker made two changes to the team that drew against Denham with Nicola Henman and Kezia Hassell coming in for Erica Byron and Zara Carroll.

Luton threatened first as Michelle Byrne fired just wide, before Jo Rutherford’s effort was saved by Leanne Smith.

Town then took the lead just before the break when Natasha Fensome intercepted a careless pass and whipped in a dangerous cross that was deflected in by an Ipswich defender.

The second half was a much more open affair and within minutes of the restart, Ipswich were back on level terms after Roxanne Small beat Rachel Evans from 14 yards.

Luton regained the lead 10 minutes later when Rutherford scored from close range after some fine build up play.

But Hatters could only manage to hold the advantage for three minutes when Small scored her second of the game after some sloppy defending.

Town had a flurry of late chances to win the game with Rutherford and Fensome both coming close but Smith denied the Hatters from stealing all three points.

Baker said: “Unlike recent weeks some scrappy defending has cost us and again, missing very good chances.

“The first goal nobody has pressed the girl straight from the throw-in, while the second goal is even worse as a corner is delivered and it fell right into the middle.

“Neither goal we conceded is good enough and not a standard I am looking for.

“It will be difficult now with four games left to come third.”

Luton host Cambridge United this weekend.