One hundred days after I was at Wembley to see Steph Houghton lift the FA Cup for Manchester City I was at the Gerard Buxton Ground to see if Royal Wootton Bassett could add to there solitary victory in this competition, a 1-0 win over Cheltenham Civil Service scored by club stalwart Sam Wood back in 2013! Today’s opponents, Chipping Sodbury affectionately know as ‘The Sods’ hail from Gloucestershire and play a division below Bassett.
It was to be a historic day for Bassett having not only introduced player sponsorship after now having been promoted to the fifth tier of women’s football, this was also the first time they had charged admission (a very modest £2) and produced a superb 16 page match day programme exclusively for the Ladies team full of very useful information for a donation of your choosing.
Bassett started the game much the stronger with early chances from Maddy Elliott and last year’s scoring sensation, Hayley Huckin.
Attacking full-back Hannah Gulliver forced the Sodbury keeper into a fine save and Elliott had another great chance after a solo run.
Bassett’s keeper Abi Footner must have wished she’d brought a book with her as long-serving player Lisa Coe amd new signing from Frampton Rangers, Beth Kelloway, bossed the midfield and kept Sodbury penned in their own half.
The good work finally paid off for Bassett on the half-hour mark as Elliott directed a Huckin cross into the net. In the following minute Gulliver sent a cross from the right that outrageously went into the top left-hand corner of the goal to put Bassett 2-0 up.
On 38 minutes referee George Lynch awarded Bassett a penalty for a foul and Huckin duly scored to put the home team 3-0 up at the break.
Five minutes after the restart Elliott tapped in a Huckin cross for her second and five minutes after that, Gulliver picked up a brace of her own with a good shot after a melee in the box. This put Bassett 5-0 up and with it extinguishing Sodburys chances once and for all.
On 63 minutes Huckin got her second from the edge of the penalty area and substitute Eloise Hayward, who came on for the brilliant Huckin, capped off the scoring by grabbing a goal of her own to give Bassett a ‘Magnificent Seven’ and put them in the hat for the next round and give them their second ever win in this competition.
After the game, I spoke to Wootton Bassett joint-manager Jonny House, “I enjoyed it with the sun out, the weather was decent and not too hot. I think it was nice to get to our first competitive game, it was lower league opposition which can be a bit of a banana skin. I thought they were decent but we were dominant, it was everything we’d hoped for from the change of shape to what we’d gone with, the personnel we have added, it was near on perfect, we set out a game plan before the game and at training on Thursday night and we executed it perfectly.”
“To get three people scoring two goals is always nice, especially Maddy Elliott who came back from a horrific injury last season, got fit and came in a place in a very competitive part of the squad and scored two goals so absolutely delighted, the goals were very well worked, the patterns we wanted to see, we had three or four 16/17-year-olds in the starting line up including 2 playing at the back and I thought they looked very assured, very comfortable and solid and enjoyed the physical side of the game as well as the pretty passing side which is what we wanted from young players and new players coming in and they recognise what we want them to work hard and earn the right to play.”
Bassett begin life in the South West Women’s football league premier division with a trip to Marine Academy this Sunday before hosting Torquay United in the next round of the FA Cup on September 22nd.