Late goal takes Ladies title race right down to the wire
Sunday 07 April 2019 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 07 April 2019 at 16:48)
A last minute equaliser denied Royal Wootton Bassett Town Ladies a victory in their penultimate game of the season away against Cheltenham Town Development.
The result means Bassett now likely require victory against Swindon Town Development in their final game next weekend if they are to seal the title. Even then, Bassett won't be fully guaranteed the title and will have to hope that challengers Frampton Rangers are unable to turn around the twelve goal deficit they currently face on goal difference.
Their visit to Cheltenham, who Bassett defeated 4-0 in Wiltshire earlier in the season, brought about an exciting, tense encounter that could have gone either way.
Bassett were the better side in the opening period, but could only muster a single goal.
Lisa Coe twice went close in the early exchanges before an excellent move ended in Hayley Huckin crossing for Emily Arrell only for the Cheltenham 'keeper to narrowly beat her to the ball.
It was a mix-up in the Cheltenham defence that gave Bassett the lead as an attempted clearance struck another defender and looped in over the 'keeper.
The visitors had four more great chances before the break to extend their advantage.
Huckin and Hollie Timbrell were unable to force the ball in after a Lauren Kayll cross beat the 'keeper. Kayll then swung in a corner which appeared to go over the line after evading everyone in the box, but the officials determined otherwise. Following that, Timbrell forced a fine save with a long range effort. Just before the break, Huckin went on one of her trademark bursting runs through the defence but, rather than square to Arrell, opted to shoot and fired straight at the 'keeper.
Following the restart, Arrell had another opportunity but was denied by a perfectly time tackle. After that though, it was Cheltenham who were on top.
There was a let off for the visitors as they conceded a penalty. Fortunately for Bassett though, the spot kick struck the post.
'Keeper Abi Footner then produced a fine save to steer away a well struck free kick, with the rebound being placed over the bar.
Bassett subsequently had another shout for a goal, with Kayll insistent that the ball had crossed the line, but the referee determined that it had been hacked away before doing so.
At the other end, a free kick was guided narrowly over before Kayll had a chance to settle it when through one-on-one but fired straight at the Cheltenham 'keeper.
Having survived that let off, Cheltenham produced some late drama, grabbing an equaliser from a corner through Jess Wadey in the final minute to ensure another turn in a thrilling title race.