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Barrett on target as Maidenhead United Women earn hard-fought draw in pre-season opener

Neil Maskell

Maidenhead United Women earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw in their opening pre-season clash with Southern Regional Women’s Football League side Abingdon United on Sunday.

On a sultry afternoon at Northcourt Road, the home side were quicker to settle, but it took them to the stroke of half-time to edge in front through Kiera Isaac, who reacted quickest to prod Nell Boxall’s through-ball past Nina Merritt in the Maidenhead goal.

The Magpies had good chances to score themselves, either side of the interval, with Amy Saunders unable to turn the ball home at the far post from a corner and Shylla Carty-Duhaney’s brave header hacked off the line. But a deserved equaliser came 13 minutes from time when Vicky Carvill stumbled following a challenge in the box, and recent signing Nicole Barrett sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.

Afterwards manager Nevin Saroya declared himself satisfied with the side’s performance. He said: “Abingdon were a good footballing team to play against and it was a good test. We grew into the game and began to implement our own plan. I was very pleased with the work the players put in and they demonstrated that the work they have done with Joel, our Strength and Conditioning Coach, is paying off.”

Left back Megan Halfacree – recently voted Young Player of the Year by the Football In Berkshire website – added: “It was good to get 90 minutes in the tank and I thought we did well considering we had a number of new players, the heat and the fact it was first game back. We’ve got another 5 games before the season starts so we should be in great shape going into it.”

MUWFC: Merritt, Barrett, Halfacree, Saunders, Malhotra, Bloor, Mace, Carvill, Nelson, Chhokar, O'Brien.

Subs (all used): East, Dover, Carty-Duhaney, Reid, Johnston.

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