BRENTWOOD Town Ladies suffered a cruel 1-0 defeat to Enfield Town as Sara Sinclair's 80th-minute goal settled the match in favour of the visitors to Chadfields.
For all that Enfield had controlled possession during the first 45 minutes, a confident Blues team had organised themselves well defensively to snuff out any opportunities and went on to build on that in the second period, carving out a number of chances of their own. However Sinclair's goal, coupled with an inspired goalkeeping display from Claire Gooch, ensured that Brentwood would not scoop the share of the spoils that their play deserved.
Sophie Lovell returned to the side for the home side, whilst Kerri Thomas was handed her first start since returning the club this summer. Promotion-chasing Enfield, who had won three of their first four matches of the season, named last season's leading goalscorer Sinclair on the bench after her return from holiday.
The match itself was bereft of chances, with Nikita Whinnett's angled header from a Carla Rose free-kick presenting Gooch with a simple catch in a rare move forwards for Blues. However, that changed after the interval as Brentwood began to step up their attacking play.
With ten minutes left the ball was distributed to the left flank, where Pavett and Kelly Hughes combined to set up Sinclair, who turned well eight yards out before shooting goalwards. Prior looked to have the strike covered, but the ball squirmed through her hands and dribbled into the bottom left-hand corner.
Despite the set-back, Brentwood battled hard for an equaliser. Thomas, who had epitomised Blues' overall performance with a lung-busting display, was replaced by Danielle Butler and, with five minutes remaining, the hosts looked destined to level.
Even deep in stoppage time, Brentwood were unable grab a goal. Robertson pursued Armstrong's right-sided centre, forcing Enfield to concede a corner which Rose delivered into the penalty area. Armstrong ghosted in at the far post, but her prod was directed the wrong side of the left-hand upright and Blues' fate was sealed.