Second half surge makes it a lucky 13
Sunday 25 February 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 25 February 2018 at 17:41)
Second half braces from Laura Gammon and Hayley Huckin secured a 4-0 victory against St. Nicholas Reserves for Royal Wootton Bassett Town Ladies as they made it thirteen wins out of thirteen in the South West Women's League Eastern Division
Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, 25th February 2018
With their home encounter against South West Women's League Eastern Division basement dwellers St. Nicholas Ladies Reserves goalless at the break, it was clear that changes were needed if Royal Wootton Bassett Town Ladies were to keep their title tilt on track.
Bassett had enjoyed most of the possession. But their passing had been sloppy throughout the opening 45 minutes, while manager Becky Gammon was left further frustrated on the sidelines by her team's lack of composure when they did get close to their visitors' goal.
And with nearest rivals Portishead Town on their way to victory against Cheltenham Civil Service, the need for adjustments at the break was made even more pertinent.
Much to Bassett's credit, a tactical shift - along with early substitutions in the second period - provided the spark that was needed.
Combined together, they injected more pace into the game, and it wasn't long until the deadlock was broken. A flowing passing move opened up the St. Nicholas defence, and the in-form Laura Gammon, scoring for the third consecutive game, was on hand to toe poke home.
The goal proved to be the confidence boost Bassett needed. And Hayley Huckin soon completed a brace. Not having scored since early in December, in recent weeks she has instead served more as a creator. Finally the forward's performance was rewarded with a place on the scoresheet though, her pair of lobbed goals coming in similar fashion.
Late on, Gammon added further gloss to the scoreline, keeping her cool when played through one-on-one with the visiting stopper in the final moments of the match.
Bassett now have thirteen wins from thirteen games and maintained the four point advantage they hold over Portishead at the head of the table.
The next six weeks are going to be decisive for them though. Next up is a Wiltshire County Cup semi final against Swindon Spitfires, with victory offering the chance to return to the final of a competition they finished as runners-up in four seasons ago. While important, the five league fixtures that follow are even more so, with four of them coming against Portishead and third place Swindon Town Development.
To ensure they come out of that period still in prime position to secure the title, Bassett will have to banish memories of their first half display against St. Nicholas and instead conjure up the performance that saw them secure what, eventually, was a comfortable, convincing triumph.
Results and performances from throughout this season suggest they are more than capable of achieving just that.