GIRLS' FOOTBALL: Smith fires Spits to victory
SWINDON Spitfires regained second spot in the South West Women’s League Division One with a 2-1 win over Nailsea United.
With Nailsea having held Spitfires’ promotion rivals St Nicholas to a goalless draw a week earlier, Spitfires expected a tough challenge from their guests.
Spits made a positive start, with Sammie Smith coming close in the third minute when her cross from the right bounced off the top of the Nailsea crossbar.
The early warning sign was not heeded by Nailsea, however, and Swindon took the lead four minutes later.
Home keeper Tamsin Kellett found Nat Haigh with a quick throw and the midfielder exchanged a quick one-two with Smith before slotting past Ellen Bridges.
Nailsea had a good spell leading up to the interval, winning several corners and throw-ins deep in Spitfires’ half, but were unable to unduly trouble Kellett through some wayward shooting.
Having scored seven minutes into the first half Spitfires did the same in the second, Hannah Gulliver slotting the ball through Nailsea’s back line for Smith to break down the right and lift her shot over Bridges.
Further chances came to Spitfires but the visitors’ goal was leading a charmed life and in the end it was Nailsea who netted in bizarre circumstances in the 84th minute.
Kellett’s clearance from a back-pass hit Jenna Blake and landed kindly for Lauren Richier to roll the ball home with Kellett desperately scrambling to recover.
Spits came strong again, with Kerry Walklett firing over a Haigh cross from five yards out when it looked easier to score and she brought a great save from Bridges a minute later, but the hosts could not manage a third.
Two minutes into stoppage time Skinner stabbed the ball past Bridges, only to see it rebound off the post for an easy defensive clearance.
The win leaves Spitfires one point behind leaders Swindon Supermarine and three ahead of third-placed St Nicholas. Spitfires are away to Forest Green Rovers reserves next Sunday, before hosting Cirencester Town the week after.
Spitfires’ reserves were at FC Chippenham for the first of their Wiltshire League Cup games. Morgan Whitaker gave Spitfires a 23rd-minute lead, but the home side levelled early in the second half.
Spitfires’ under 16s were also in league cup action, but lost out 3-1 at Derry Hill. Freyja Stevens scored for Swindon but the visitors’ interest in this year’s competition came to an abrupt end.
Spitfires’ under 11s were successful in their cup game at FC Chippenham, securing a 2-1 win, while the under 12s won 13-2 at Warminster Highbury.
In the Oxford Girls League, Spitfires under 13s hosted Tower Hill in their first-round cup tie and emerged with a 3-0 victory thanks to two goals from Helena Butcher and one from Natalie Goodright.
Spitfires’ under 14s remain in third place in the league after going down 3-1 at second-placed Kidlington, Meghan Larkin netting the consolation.