Buckingham Athletic Ladies – 6
Launton Ladies – 0
Buckingham Athletic Ladies cantered to victory against Launton at Stratford Fields against a side that could not fulfil their full starting eleven positions, full credit to the ten that did turn up and play despite being manager less after a recent resignation, their misery compounded just before kick-off when they had to borrow a clubhouse patron to run the line for them. The game started under dark clouds which cleared to warm the Sunday afternoon atmosphere but by the interval those in attendance were sent scurrying for cover as the heavens opened, throw in some hailstones and a rapid drop in temperature which saw the away side forced to enjoy their fifteen minute half time break camped inside their dug out for cover, but just as soon as the rain had come the clouds cleared and the rest of the game was played out under blue skies and warm sunshine. Three strikes in each half for Carmen Robinson’s side were testament to how dominant an afternoon it was, they were even afforded a penalty to be saved quite brilliantly by visiting keeper Kate Williamson in the second period, more pleasing for the home manager was to see the goals shared around the side with five different scorers.
The game took a while to get going and it wasn’t until the twelfth minute that a shot in anger was fired, a half clearance from the Launton defence only found Sam Jolley to the right of goal from where she drove wide, their next move saw Evie Hawkins on the eighteen yard line slip a pass through the defence for Courtney Crawley to connect & score however a raised flag denied any celebration, then just before the quarter hour mark she did open the scoring when cutting in from the right touchline to drift past her marker and from the edge of the six yard box drill low inside the far post. The lead was doubled within three minutes of the opener when a free kick floated into the area by Rosie Hubbard was blocked by Williamson initially but Danielle Crossley fed the loose ball out to Jade Copas who went for goal, the keeper got back to save on her line but couldn’t hold on and Nicole Britten was on hand to fire home.
A ball played down the centre of the field saw Hawkins away but with a defender on her shoulder she had to battle to get an inch of space in which time the goalie was off her line to bravely dive at the strikers feet, a rare Launton attack was brought to halt inside the Ath half and Crawley released on a quick counter attack where she made some ground before squaring inside to Britten who fired straight at the visiting custodian, a moment later the same routine saw the visitor’s struggle to contain the Buckingham winger who again found the same team mate who from the angle fired wide of the far upright, Hawkins then received a pass just inside the box with her back to goal where she held off a defender then turning and firing straight into the waiting gloves of Williamson, Lily Hamp was next to try her luck from twenty yards but again the keeper was behind it all the way.
The attacks were relentless and a poor clearance allowed Copas to shoot from close range which was denied by a boot on the line, Hamp put the ball back over the defence but again Williamson got blocked where from twelve yards Britten lifted over the crossbar much to her own disbelief, but then just after the half-hour mark a third finally arrived when a Jolley free kick found Hawkins whose effort was saved again on the line but it rolled out to Hamp on the six yard line who slotted home inside the near post. With eight minutes of the half left Launton had their first real chance of the game when a ball downfield eluded Georgina Howells allowing Ali Clarke a clear run at Ellen Fenables in the Ath goal, however she simply lifted straight into the keepers hands, at the opposite end Copas seized on a stray pass in the centre circle to advance before firing into Williamson’s hands. H/T: 3-0
Within one hundred and twenty seconds of the restart Buckingham had their fourth when a Hubbard free kick into the box eluded the Launton custodian and first to react was Hawkins who knocked home, just three minutes after the fourth came the fifth after good work down the flank from Crawley who squared inside to Britten, her low shot was well saved by Williamson but she only pushed into the path of Copas who rifled home. Encouraged by their second half opening the hosts sensed more & Jordan Heron burst forward from midfield & after evading a first challenge she looked set to shoot until a second defender came across to help out and got the slightest of deflections to stun it, Crawley almost increased her tally for the afternoon getting down the left and drifting along the by line before her curling effort around the keeper just wouldn’t bend in enough.
Just past the hour mark it was six when Launton struggled to get the ball away to safety and Anna Thompson charged down a clearance, her shot deflected off a defender to Crossley who was challenged and the loose ball fell kindly to Hawkins who despite being off balance managed to chip over Williamson into the roof of the net. The remaining half an hour didn’t see any further goals although Ath created enough chances to score as many again, Heron had another drive forward from midfield but her final touch just a little too heavy allowing the keeper to advance and smoother at her feet, Jolley released Hawkins with a defence splitting pass that saw the leading scorer flash across goal and inches wide of the far upright, & Hubbard tried her luck from twenty-five yards but too straight to trouble the shot stopper.
A diagonal pass into the box saw Britten hammer into the side netting from close range, whilst a Heron corner was met at the near post by Philippa Burge who diverted about a foot wide of her own goal frame, as the game drifted towards its latter stages Crawley won her side a penalty when she was played inside the eighteen yard area but a defenders trailing leg brought her down, after much deliberation she was elected to take the spot kick which Williamson did brilliantly down to her right to save. Britten saw a curling shot from the edge of the penalty arc caught by the away keeper, within a minute Copas did exactly the same after her initial effort was charged down, the final action saw another Heron corner find Hawkins who only managed to get under the cross and head up and over the top. F/T: 6-0
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