AFC Unity’s game at Beighton was abandoned ten minutes in, due to an injury suffered by defender Sarah Richards, as they were winning 1-0 in a blistering start.
Lucy Strutt scored after five minutes with the “red stars” looking like a different side to the one that got beat by Beighton 8-1 just a week before.
“As mentioned a week before, the benefit of a defeat like that against an undefeated and seemingly unbeatable team is that you get to try something different, because you have absolutely nothing to lose,” said AFC Unity manager Jay Baker. “So I tried a different approach, and right from the off it looked like it was working, and then we scored, and we were on fire.”
However, just after the tenth minute, veteran defender Sarah Richards went down near the edge of her own penalty area when her studs stuck in the mud and she dislocated her knee. Told not to move her until the ambulance arrived, after a long wait, the referee called the game off.
“It was just bad luck,” Baker said. “It’s nobody’s fault. Clubs at this level try hard to do their best to handle the pressure to keep games on and the playing surfaces at this time of year aren’t great, but this is why there have been calls for more investment into the game at a local level, where there are limited resources and there’s only so much all the clubs can do.”
AFC Unity players and coaches stayed with their injured teammate for nearly an hour until an ambulance arrived, and Baker hopped in with her for the bumpy ride to the hospital.
“On the stretcher, in the ambulance, Sarah was still talking about the game, pointing out the fact that Beighton have only had three goals scored against them all season – one from us last week – and we took the lead in this game, and then disaster struck!” said Baker.
He added: “She was so thankful for everyone’s support. She’s a good person, not just a good player, and the most important thing is that she takes care of herself and gets better, because knowing her, she’d try and show up to training with her leg hanging off!”
Everyone at AFC Unity wishes Sarah Richards a speedy recovery.
The game will be rearranged and the fixture will be announced soon.