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Needham Market made a winning start to the new Eastern Regional Premiership season with a comfortable 4-2 victory against St Albans.

The away side were on the front foot for most of the first half and made a quick start thanks to Lina Nagib before two goals in two minutes – first from Mia Etheridge-Golding before an immediate response by Kiera Ward.

In the second period it was stalemate for a while before a flurry of late goals from Etheridge-Golding (2), Jodie Sharpe and Becky Shephard with a late consolation.

It only took three minutes to open the scoring when Ellie Rossiter blazed past her full back and cut the ball back to Nagib to tap home from close range.

Etheridge-Golding almost doubled the lead minutes later but was denied by the keeper, which ended up as a stay of execution, when she converted a delicious Nagib cross.

The home side immediately responded when a long ball was not defended, and the ball landed to Ward on the line to tap home.

Chances came and went for Needham, but they failed to extend the lead and were almost punished as first St Albans had a goal ruled out for offside before hitting the post deep into added time.

The second half started slowly with both teams cancelling each other out until the 75th minute when Etheridge-Golding tapped home her second after St Albans failed to clear a corner.

It got even more comfortable with Jodie Sharp capping a great performance with a brilliant run and finish into the top corner.

There was still time for a late consolation for the home sidewith neat build up play releasing Shephard, who first rounded new Needham goalkeeper Yaz Walford, before a powerful finish to beat Niamh Thomas on the line.

With 10 minutes added on there was time for the home side to make an unlikely comeback but the away side saw out the game comfortably and came away with three points from the opening day to kick start the new season in the best possible manner.


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