Ladies edge top of the table clash to hit summit
Sunday 09 December 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 10 December 2018 at 14:17)
First half goals from Emily Arrell and Hayley Huckin and a resolute defensive performance secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory for Royal Wootton Bassett Town Ladies against Frampton Rangers in their highly-anticipated South West Women's Football League Eastern Division clash.
Pitting the top two teams in the division against one another, a close contest was always going to be on the cards in the first competitive meeting between Bassett and Frampton. Yet Bassett were ultimately able to seize the initiative and then deny Frampton the equalising goal that they desperately sought.
As has been the case in many of their games so far this season, Bassett started well and picked up an early goal. Superb pressing from Emma Sykes enabled her to regain possession and she picked out Arrell, who beat one defender before producing a fine lobbed finish from twenty yards.
Playing with a fierce wind behind them, Bassett were soon able to convert the pressure they were able to produce into a second goal. This time Arrell turned creator, setting up Huckin with a weighted through ball and her strike partner calmly beat the Frampton 'keeper.
Given the confidence that they were playing with, Bassett appeared set to go into the break with a comfortable two goal advantage.
But demonstrating why they have hit the ground running since their promotion, Frampton halved the deficit just before half time. A powerful long-range strike from Saffy Degg rattled the crossbar, though the rebound was slotted away by Chloe Timbrell, the ball trickling over the line despite great efforts from 'keeper Abi Footner, who was able to reverse her direction of travel to get a hand to the ball, and centre half Hannah Gulliver to keep it out.
The visitors then came out for the second half pushing strongly for an equaliser. But Bassett maintained their high level of play throughout, resisting the pressure Frampton put them under.
Bassett could even have added to their goal tally. However, victory by the odd goal was more than enough to leapfrog Frampton and secure top spot.
Bassett now sit first, level on points with Cheltenham Town Development, who have played a game more and possess an inferior goal difference.