Royal Wootton Bassett Town were aiming to reach the 3rd qualifying round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first by heading to North Bristol and visiting the town with the same name as 1990s Bristol indie band, Portishead Town. Bassett were hoping it would be a case of ‘Glory Box’ which was the bands biggest hit and not another of there songs ‘Numb.’
Ironically this exact fixture should have been played today in the South-West Women’s Premier League. After visiting there cosy clubhouse it was time to watch proceedings at the small rustic ground, we positioned ourselves at the halfway line next to a rudimental tin shack which was where the handful of home supporters were.
The game was fairly even to begin with but Bassett thought they had stolen a goal on 3 minutes when Lauren Kayll tried to take advantage of some nervy lapse defending by Portishead but her shot missed the target.
The home team were trying to put Bassett under pressure but the ever-dependable skipper Laura Jefferies and the impressive teenager Lara Wilson were not letting anything past them.
Hayley Huckin thought she had broken the deadlock for the Visitors on 13 minutes as she slotted the ball into the net but the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Bassett were now well on top and shooting on sight Kayll tried to take the keeper on with a long shot but it was well caught by Anderson.
Bassett continued to bombard the Portishead goal and must having been scratching there heads as to how the score remained 0-0 at half time, perhaps the sight of Ellie Strippell in the crowd who plays for our neighbours Bristol City was not a good omen!
Portishead were much more organised in the second half and growing in confidence and despite Bassett having the bulk of possession and still continuing to make chances it was the home team who took the lead after a breakaway in which they hit the woodwork but Shannon Holloway who put the follow up, putting Portishead 1-0 up on 57 minutes completely against the run of play.
Bassett frantically searched for an equaliser and must have fancied their chances having already scored an impressive 26 goals in there 5 league and cup games this season but no matter how much they huffed and puffed in the now swirling wind they could not blow Portisheads proverbial door down.
The pacey teenager Sophie Smith was brought on to try and force the issue but it was still Kayll who looked the most likely to score and showed why Cheltenham had signed her from Bassett in the summer and loaned her back. She was now doing everything except score as she sent another one over the bar and forced Anderson into another good save.
Portishead were also trying to get a second on the break but Bassett kept themselves in the tie with some last gasp defending by the courageous Jefferies.
Time was now running out and it was in the dying minutes when the controversial moment of the game came. Bassett’s Amber Eggerton was clipped just inside the box and the referee gave a free kick instead of pointing to the spot most people in the ground including those associated with the home team said it was a penalty.
The referee ended proceedings sending Portishead to the 3rd round with the prize of hosting Hampshire team Moneyfields. Bassett were left ruing an abundance of missed chances which they will no doubt want to put right when they host another Bristol team Illminster in the league this Sunday.