Football

Army Footballers Make Impressive Comeback In New Manager's First Game

The Army women's team drew 2-2 with Middlesex in Sergeant Lee Barry's first game as head coach.

The Army women’s team came from two goals down to draw with Middlesex in Sergeant Lee Barry’s first game in charge.

Playing for a new manager can make some teams nervous and the Army’s first-half performance was evidence of that.

Mara Deluca forced Kenni Clarke into an early save as the ladies in red struggled to settle into the game.

Clarke stood no chance soon after though. Sue Kummaning, who plays for Queen’s Park Rangers, tried her luck from a similar distance and found the net with a stunning strike.

Sgt Barry said his team offered Middlesex too much respect in a poor first-half performance and the forces side found themselves 2-0 down at the break.

A mix-up at the back allowed Chloe Sampson to shoot tamely at goal, with the ball trickling through the Army goalkeeper.

It could have been even worse for the Lionesses at half-time. Alessandra Barreca lashed over after Clarke failed to get anywhere near claiming the corner.

There was even a goal-line clearance to make sure it was just two at the interval. Sampson nipped ahead of Clarke and laid it on a plate for captain Kasha Petit, but Louisa Anderson stretched out a timely leg to block the shot.

Sergeant Lee Barry (middle) showed his passion when speaking to his players.

The second half needed something different for the Army. Rachel Rigby certainly provided that, latching on to a poor throw, showing a terrific turn of pace and a finish cool as you like to half the deficit.

The Army boss called Rigby’s strike the turning point of the match but the two-goal lead was nearly restored just minutes later.

Deluca’s great pass released Kayleigh Currivan, but Clarke did well to tip the shot onto the post.

At the other end of the pitch, the Army wasted chances as rain started to fall at Rectory Park.

Tara Guyler should have done better from six yards out while Libby Dixon’s stylish flick and shot was tipped wide by a tremendous save.

The equaliser had been coming, however, and the Army deserved to be level.

Anderson up from the back took advantage of the chaos in the Middlesex penalty area to nod home for 2-2.

A draw seemed a fair result, but Middlesex may feel aggrieved to have had a winning goal chalked off. Clarke dropped a simple cross and collided with the Middlesex number 11.

The winger put the ball in the net but the referee ruled it out for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Clarke had to go off with the injury meaning an outfield player, Tara Parker, saw out the game in goal. 

She did enough to keep Middlesex from scoring more goals, which means neither a win or a loss for Lee Barry’s first game in charge.

The Army women's side will play more civilian teams before the end of the year when attention turns to the 2020 Inter Services Championships.