|12/11/2023||14:00||Southern Region Women's Football League - Premier Division||2023-2024|
|The Exclusive Networks Stadium|
|Anstey Park Enclosure, Alton GU34 2NB|
YELLAWOMEN EDGE OUT WINCHESTER 1-0
Laura Moss strike enough for league leaders
Laura Moss’s 2nd half free-kick was enough for Ascot United Women to beat stubborn Winchester Flyers on Sunday. Playing at Alton Town’s Anstey Park home, the hosts started well before Ascot exerted their dominance and Moss’s 67th minute set-piece ultimately gave them a deserved victory.
Winchester not flying at home but pose attacking threat
The hosts’ league record coming into the game was certainly nothing to write home about – three matches, three defeats and no goals scored – but they had won twice on the road at Warminster and Eastleigh, plus slammed eleven unanswered goals pat Basingstoke in the county cup on a day when striker Annie Northwood netted a double-hat-trick.
Ascot welcomed Izzy Woods back after several weeks abroad, and she played half-an-hour or so in an otherwise familiar looking line-up.
Yellawomen start quietly but grow into game
The first half was a slow burner as Ascot failed to breach a resolute home defence, and they were indebted to ‘keeper Nicole Spittle in the 23rd minute when she bravely raced from her line to save Libby Wilkinson’s close-range thunderbolt after she had raced onto Northwood’s through-ball.
But after that scare it was virtually all Ascot, although they failed to test home ‘keeper Shannon White on a trio of occasions as firstly Tiff Skinner fired into the side-netting, then Amelia Kimble scooped her shot over from distance after Philippa Holden and Skinner had linked up in the move of the half, and lastly substitute Maddie Robertson missed left-of-goal from distance.
Strong second half as Moss shows who’s boss
The Yellawomen were almost ahead moments after the restart when Georgia Luckhurst-McCord saw her header from Alix Todd’s corner cleared off the line; unlucky Lucky looking like she would grab a goal her recent performances have deserved.
But after Moss had already seen a free-kick tipped onto the crossbar by White before being hacked clear, she got another chance shortly afterwards when substitute Hayley Cruickshanks had been fouled, and her inviting delivery deceived White and bounced into the net despite desperate attempts by the covering defence.
At the other end, Ascot were untroubled – largely due to their growing passing game – and might have added a second when Sarah Leonard’s cut-back from an improbable angle went through White’s legs, although this time the covering defence were able to clear.
Two minutes of added time preceded a torrential downpour as the players left the pitch, but nothing will dampen the spirits of Will Blithing, Darrel Evans and coach Todd as they re-established a five-point advantage at the top after Bournemouth’s game fell foul of the weather and Woodley were in FA Cup Action.
What’s next for Ascot?
The Yellawomen are on the road at second-bottom Warminster Town next Sunday ahead of Woodley United’s visit one week later.
Reporter’s Star Player: Philippa Holden (Ascot). Head-and-shoulders above everyone else in a fine midfield display oozing energy, creativity and intelligence. Covered almost every blade of Alton’s 3G pitch; a case of fantastic on plastic!
Ascot United: Spittle, Luckhurst-McCord, Moss, Killick-Bird, Todd, Woods, Holden, Kimble, Skinner, Couzens, Vince. Subs (rolling): Fox, Huntley, Robertson, Cruickshanks, Leonard
32’ Woods OFF Robertson ON
46’ Couzens OFF Leonard ON
58’ Kimble OFF Cruickshanks ON
70’ Killick-Bird OFF Skinner OFF Huntley ON Fox ON
75’ Vince OFF Couzens ON
Attendance (estimate): 40 (15 away)