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Maidenhead United Women overcome injury to skipper Dover to make their point against Larkhall

Larkhall Athletic Ladies 2, Maidenhead United 2

Maidenhead United Women overcame the loss of captain Alex Dover to a freak injury to claim a fully deserved draw at Larkhall Athletic Ladies on Sunday.

Larkhall hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the women who have lost there on each of their last five FA Women’s National League visits.

And they had to overcome adversity to pick up their point after Dover suffered an unfortunate freak knee injury in the opening five minutes and limped off to be replaced by Steph Nelson.

The Magpies had already come close when Jade Chhokar fired into the side netting after good work from Simone O’Brien, while Maddy Brown shot over the top of Nina Merritt’s crossbar for the Larks.

O’Brien was rewarded for her perseverance as Maidenhead took the lead in unusual fashion. Charging down a clearance from Hannam the ball struck the Magpies winger and bounced into the net. However, their lead lasted barely three minutes.

After Merritt had pushed an effort from range out for a Larkhall corner, Amanda Blakely was in the right place at the right time to touch home the resultant set piece to make it 1-1.

Before the break the Magpies stepped up the pressure with Steph Nelson’s shot cleared off the line and Megan Halfacree’s wicked inswinging corner almost leading to a goal.

The visitors did take a deserved lead early in the second half, thanks to a composed finish by Natalie Barnes. Barnes ran onto a through ball and kept her composure to drill the ball past the keeper.

However, once again they failed to hold onto their advantage as Hooper made it 2-2 just after the hour mark with a free kick that deceived Merritt.

Maidenhead almost nicked the win in injury time when Barrett’s free-kick was inches away from a telling connection by substitute Shylla Carty-Duhaney.

United were forced to settle for a point on this occasion, but it’s an improvement on last season when Larkhall completed the league double over them.

Manager Nev Saroya will feel that but for two soft goals from set-pieces the Magpies could and perhaps should have started with an opening day win.

Magpies: Merritt, Barrett, Halfacree, Chhokar (Sub Carty-Duhaney ’86), Malhotra, Thompson, Mace, Dover (Sub Nelson ’10), Carvill, O’Brien, Barnes. Subs (not used): East, Reid, Thorne.

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