Luton Town Ladies went down to a 3-0 defeat at Actonians in their first FA Women’s National League South East Division One away game of the season on Sunday.
Following their cup exit to Cheltenham last weekend, Luton travelled to west London in the hope of picking up their first points of the season against an Actonians side who were also still looking to get off the mark.
The Hatters suffered an early scare as home midfielder Collins blasted over from a good position inside two minutes.
Just as Luton were beginning to grow into the game, they were caught by a sucker punch by Actonians breaking the deadlock after a collision between keeper Kezia Hassall and Nicola Henman allowed the ball to rebound into an empty net.
Despite the disappointment of going behind, the Hatters’ response to Actonians’ goal was a positive one; a good team move almost resulted in the equaliser, Jessica McKay’s effort was well saved, Henman also going close with a header.
Both sides then had huge opportunities as Sara Lopez Ezzahira sidefooted over from 10 yards out, squandering a golden chance to double the lead.
It looked as if Town were going to be able to take advantage of this missed chance, but Rachel Kosky’s header hit the angle of post and bar.
At half time Luton switched from a back three to their usual four with the introduction of Rebecca Ferris.
It appeared to have had an immediate effect when Dionne Manning was released on goal only to see her effort hit the inside of the post and bounce away.
Hatters also sent on Naomi Stirling in the hope she could shake up the Actonians’ defence, but it was the west London side who scored the goal to kill off the game through Carla Williams.
In the final 10 minutes Luton could have given themselves a route back into the match as Stirling as she burst through on goal, but a nudge in the back stopped any chance of her getting her shot away, with no penalty awarded.
An intelligent interchange between Erica Byron and McKay almost resulted in a goal, but the Actonians keeper was able to maintain her clean sheet.
There was further misery for the Hatters as Williams added to her earlier goal to increase the deficit.
Actonians had numerous chances to add another before the final whistle, but Luton keeper Hassall was able to thwart this with some intelligent reading of the game to get off her line quickly, not to mention a superb double save.
The result means Luton are bottom of the league after three games. Their scheduled home game against Enfield Town Ladies tonight has been rearranged as they visit Billericay Town Ladies this weekend.
>> The development side lost 4-2 against Sutton United.