Luton Town Ladies climbed to fifth in the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One after a 1-0 win over Ipswich on Sunday.
Manager Nikki Baker made one change to the side that defeated Norwich two weeks ago as Jodie Southby started in place of the injured Erica Byron.
The Hatters started brightly and came close to taking an early lead when Rutherford whipped in a free kick and Nicola Henman’s header was well saved.
Minutes later, Lucy Webster won the ball in her own half and went on one of her brilliant runs, bursting into the box to win a corner.
Rutherford delivered the set-piece which was cleared only as far as Jess McKay , whose first time shot whistled past the post.
Hatters keeper Jess Devoti was called upon to make a save midway through the half, before with 24 minutes gone, Luton got the goal they deserved.
Rutherford swung in another excellent corner and Amy Summerfield was the first to react, volleying into the net.
Right before half time, Devoti made another good stop to from a free kick at her near post, while Luton almost doubled their lead through McKay after some great combination play between Southby and Zara Carroll.
In the second half the Hatters went close once more when Rutherford flashed an effort across goal, while McKay’s shot from distance flew narrowly over.
Some good defending at the other end in just her second appearance from Asia Brown denied Amy Howlett a chance, while Henman dealt with the resulting corner.
With five minutes remaining, substitute Jodie Bellinger chased a ball into the corner and looked to be fouled, falling awkwardly on her shoulder.
This resulted in a lengthy stoppage in play for treatment and an ambulance being called.
After half an hour, the final five minutes were completed, Dionne Manning won the ball inside her own half and a good interchange with Carroll led to substitute Jemma Moore being through in on goal, but her shot was well saved.
Hatters were put under some late pressure, but their defence held firm to seal all three points.
Afterwards, Baker said: “The girls worked really hard and did exactly what we asked. We defended superbly and Jess hasn’t really had a save to make.
“Going forward we created some good chances, but I am especially pleased that we kept a clean sheet.
“We have seven league games left now and all we can do is continue to try and pick up points and play the way we are. “We all wish Jodie the best recovery from her shoulder injury too.
“The girls did very well to play for five minutes when 1-0 up after a 30 minute break in play and for that I am delighted.”
Luton visit Norwich this weekend.