McKay at the double as Town Ladies go top

Jess McKay celebrates her goal against Bedford Ladies - pic: Liam Smith
Jess McKay celebrates her goal against Bedford Ladies - pic: Liam Smith

A late Jess McKay double sent Luton Town Ladies top of the Eastern Region Women’s League Premier Division table as they beat local rivals Bedford Ladies 2-1 on Sunday.

With experienced keeper Kezia Hassall back, there was also a first start of the season for midfielder Erica Byron.

Town almost had the perfect start, striker Funmi Babalola missing two good chances.

Against the run of play Bedford had the lead as they scored from a direct free kick.

The Hatters reacted well, forcing visiting stopper Lauren Webb into a string of good saves, as she denied Rebecca Kane, while Dionne Manning was wide too.

In the second period, Town looked to find an equaliser, Kane, Babalola and Manning all going close, Rachel Carter’s header narrowly missing.

With 15 minutes to go, a change in shape and personnel saw more pressure put on the Bedford keeper and it paid off moments later, Kelsey Gibson and Manning combining for McKay to blast home.

Webb then looked like she would prevent Luton from going on to take all three points, before Town won a late free kick in stoppage time.

Zara Carroll swung the set-piece in and McKay rose highest to nod home the winner.

Manager Nikki Baker said of a third successive league win: “We left it late but credit to the girls for coming from behind and winning again.

“We had 42 chances on goal to their four, which shows how much we dominated.

“They wasted time and tried to see the game out which backfired in the end.

“I am delighted with the three points and we just need to keep going now.”

Luton travel to Wymondham this weekend.

>> AFC Dunstable Lades lost 5-1 at Bowers & Pitsea, Louise McCay on target.

Houghton Athletic Ladies were beaten 4-2 at home by Hartham United Ladies, Emily Wilson and Shakeela Hussain scoring.