YELLAWOMEN WIN AGAIN TO EXTEND LEAD AT TOP

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Ascot go five points clear with Warminster win

A solitary strike from Sarah Leonard was enough for Ascot United Women to take all three points for the second consecutive match. Leonard struck late in the first half against lowly Warminster Town on Sunday, although the visitors battled hard and might have snatched a late point but for the width of a post.

Yellawomen wary of improving visitors

Warminster had initially struggled after their lateral move to the Southern Region Women’s Football League at the start of the season, but two draws on the road and a crucial first win at fellow strugglers Badshot Lea last weekend had seen them leapfrog The Baggies and off the foot of the table for the first time. Ascot meanwhile were getting used to life without a number of regulars – injured Brown and Connor together with unavailable Carrington and Woods – but any team harbouring title aspirations know they need to call on all their squad if silverware is to end up in this corner of SL5.

Chances at a premium but Couzens unlocks Town

The first half was a tight affair. Warminster gave a good account of themselves but failed to create any clear cut chances; their best sight of goal came just after the half-hour mark when Mia Blazey’s long range effort was easily saved by Nicole Spittle.

Earlier, Ascot almost took an eighth minute lead when Kate Fox’s sublime slide-rule pass cut Town’s defence open, and although Leonard picked her spot in the right hand corner her first-time shot was well saved by visiting ‘keeper Abi Footner.

Philippa Holden’s shot from distance then brought a more comfortable save from Footner before Warminster’s only chance, and just as it looked as if the half would end goalless, up popped Leonard to give Ascot a 42nd minute lead. However, the goal owed as much to the vision of Claire Couzens, who threaded a perfectly weighted ball through for Leonard to run onto, Leonard’s first touch then enabled her to round Footner before slotting home with her left foot despite the efforts of the covering defence.

Warminster bely league position but lack cutting edge

The second half was virtually devoid of chances before springing to life in the closing stages. Will Blithing had made four changes for the home side at half time, and a couple more later in the half as Leonard managed seventy minutes before her exit, but it was Alix Todd that came close to adding a second when her wicked 84th minute corner sailed untouched across the six yard box and agonisingly wide of the left-hand upright.

But the visitors never gave up. Buoyed by a sizeable travelling contingent in a crowd of 80-or-so, they almost levelled with four minutes of normal time remaining when Maddy Brown’s effort from Poppy Spratt’s deep cross from the right trickled past Spittle and onto the foot of the right-hand post before being scrambled clear by the home defence.

Todd’s snap-shot for Ascot was well-held by Footner at the other end before Town mustered one final foray into Ascot’s half, only for substitute Poppy Wannell to fire wide of an open goal after Spittle had initially forced her wide.

But results are all that matters and the win takes Ascot five points clear of Oxford City in second place. Woodley and Bournemouth Sports, both with games in hand, are surely the main rivals to watch, but they are playing catch-up on an Ascot side with 16 points from a possible 18.

What’s next for Ascot?

The Yellawomen are back on the road at Badshot Lea next Sunday in the first of three successive roads trips; longer jaunts to both Winchester and Warminster will follow on subsequent November weekends.

Ascot United: Spittle, Luckhurst-McCord, Moss, Killick-Bird, Todd, Fox, Holden, Kimble, Skinner, Couzens, Vince. Subs (rolling): Kimble, Sheppard, Huntley, Richardson-Taylor

Entertainment: 3

Reporter’s Star Player: Georgia Luckhurst-McCord (Ascot). A very strong display at right back. Combative in the tackle, high energy and always on the front foot.

Attendance (estimate): 80

Pictured: Ascot United’s excellent (and vocal!) mascots line up with the team before the game.

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