After a late switch of venue due to the Somerset side’s ground not having recovered from last weekend’s flooding Swindon Spitfires hosted Keynsham Town Reserves in their latest South West Women’s League Eastern Division encounter.
With the visitors’ first team without a game they dropped several players down to the reserve squad, including top scorer Fabiana Rodriguez.
However it was Spitfires who started the strongest and could have taken the lead after just two minutes when Emma Blackwell shot wide after Laura Ball’s good work in collecting a spill from keeper Amy Lovell. Lovell then did well to block Natalie Haigh’s shot at the near post on 16 minutes.
Spitfires’ Laura Mason did a superb man-marking job on Rodriquez, and ably assisted by Jess Dent and Jenna Blake the home defence were keeping Keynsham at bay. Spitfires survived a scare on 27 minutes when Aimee Clarke hit the post, but it was against the run of play when Keysham took the lead a minute later.
Spitfires continued to create openings at the other end, and Emily Sparkes nearly headed the equaliser from a Haigh cross on 32 minutes but the ball was scrambled away off the line. And a minute later Debbie Rose could only hit the side netting from Emma Skinner’s pass.
The second player making her senior Spitfires debut was new signing Kerry Walklett, and she came off the bench to mark the occasion with a goal on 38 minutes; a fierce shot from Skinner hit the post and landed at the feet of Walklett who had an empty net to aim for and took the chance with glee.
The second 45 again saw lots of chances for the home side with Sparkes and Walklett combining well and showing promise of a good partnership in the offing.
Hannah Gulliver set up Haigh on 55 minutes only for her shot to land on the top of the net, and a Rose header allowed Sparkes to set Cara Costello free down the left only for her to rush the shot and put wide when well placed. Rose was then just wide with her header from a Haigh free-kick.
Spitfires finally took the lead on 73 minutes after Lovell had tipped a Sparkes shot round the post for a corner. Haigh delivered and the ball was cleared only as far as Skinner who powered home off the inside of the post.
The third came on 81 minutes when a quick Mason throw allowed Skinner to find Ball in behind the visitors’ defence and she calmly placed it into the back of the net. And the final goal came two minutes from time when Skinner’s shot took a slight deflection that wrong-footed Lovell to leave the final score as 4-1 to Spitfires.
The result keeps Spitfires in the mix at the top of the table in third place, still just 2 points behind leaders St Nicholas but with a game in hand.
Spitfires: 1. Tamsin Kellett, 2. Emma Blackwell, 3. Cara Costello, 4. Jess Dent, 5. Laura Mason, 7. Laura Ball, 8. Emily Sparkes, 11. Debbie Rose, 14. Emma Skinner, 15. Jenna Blake, 17. Natalie Haigh. Subs: 9. Kerry Walklett, 10. Vicky Wilkes, 12. Hannah Gulliver
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