|It was Newbury Ladies First Team’s final league match of the season and so our season has now concluded. We must wait to find out our fate and see if we have done enough to avoid relegation, as the teams below us New Milton Town and Barton Rovers still have games to play. We hope that the victory is enough to keep us in the Premier Division for next season.
Newbury were missing several key players due to a combination of injuries, holidays and a suspension for captain, Ellie Reed, following last week’s red card. So they called up support from their Development Team, with both Bec Walker and Lauren Sheldon going straight into the starting line-up and performing admirably.
Both Winchester and Newbury are two very evenly matched teams, with Winchester on 13 points at the start of the day, just 3 ahead of Newbury, who sat one place behind them in the Premier Division table.
But it was Newbury who got the breakthrough in the 32nd minute, following a quick free kick by Captain, Leanne Saunders, who played the ball into the feet of Ayala Truelove. She in turn found Amy McNab in space just inside the penalty area and she had time to turn and shoot low into the bottom far corner, to give Newbury a deserved one nil lead.
Newbury then had to defend through until half time, but the work rate from all of their players in the extreme Easter Sunday heat was phenomenal. Their kept their slender one nil lead intact at the half time break.
After the re-start, the game was compulsive watching and it became end to end, as the pitch started to be stretched and there were gaps opening up for both teams. Newbury had to make some last ditch defending and Kat Brown in goal was also called upon to make some finger tip saves. But Newbury too, had their chances at the other end, with a great bit of combination play on the left involving Bec Walker and Molly Baker. The former was played in and lofted a shot above the Winchester keeper, but sadly the ball just wouldn’t quite dip at the last moment and it very narrowly skimmed the top of the cross bar and went behind for a goal kick. Had that opportunity been converted, it would have been game over for Newbury, but as it was, they were still hanging on. Their time management in this situation, was excellent and they continued to frustrate the home players.
The relief for Newbury was immense when the Referee’s whistle finally blew for full time. It had been an epic one nil victory and they would finish their season on a high.
Match report by Sue Hewett