Match Report: Royal Wootton Bassett Town 3-2 Middlezoy Rovers

I made the short trip to the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground for the final time this calendar year to see Royal Wootton Bassett Town take on Somerset club Middlezoy Rovers in a South West Regional Women’s League Premier Division match.

Before the match in the club bar, I watched Arsenal and in particular Vivianne Miedema’s brutal 11-1 destruction of Bristol City. I was hopeful for a similar display from the Wiltshire equivalent of ‘Queen Viv’, Hayley Huckin, who has also been in terrifying form this year bullying defences in the south-west.

The game began in bitterly cold conditions where Bassett’s now fit again keeper Abi Footner was back between the sticks after a spell on the sidelines. Footner was hugely influential in the team winning the league and getting promoted last season, especially the final ‘must-win’ league match against Swindon Town where she made some important saves.
 
Footner was called upon early in this game too to make a save to her right. It was quite an even game with both teams moving the ball well.
 
Amber Eggerton looked particularly lively for Bassett on the left and it was the home team who took the lead with a good move down the middle of the pitch finished off by one of Bassett’s highly talented teenagers, Lauren Kayll.
 
Middlezoy, playing in black and white stripes, attempted to get back into the game but were thwarted by Footner once again who made a good save, as referee Lucy Oliver (wife of UEFA elite referee Michael Oliver) blew for half time.
 
The visitors came out of the traps much quicker and within ten minutes of the restart saw themselves 2-1 up after two calamitous goals gifted to Middlezoys Demi Reading.
 
The lead only lasted a couple of minutes as Bassett won a penalty through Kayll that was converted by substitute Huckin despite it taking a deflection off the keeper.
 
Lisa Coe tried to do one of her famous worldies by scoring from way outside the area but the shot went just over.
 
Bassett had an excellent chance to take the lead as the ball pinged around in the box but no one could get a shot away.
 
Middlezoy had a good chance themselves but their shot went wide.
 
It was to be Huckin who would have the last word in the 88th minute as she headed the ball into the net from a good Bassett move to give all three points to the 2019 league and county cup champions. The result put them top of the league just before they are due to play the biggest league game of the season against the title favourites Callington Town. This will be a thrilling end to a thrilling year watching this very exciting team from a sleepy Wiltshire Town.
 
After the game I spoke with joint managers Jonny House and James Goddard:
 
What are your thoughts on the game?
Jonny: We knew it was going to be a difficult game, going into it Middlezoy have had some mixed results but we knew they would be a decent team and they were,  first half we dominated the ball and should have been more than 1-0 up and credit Middlezoy who came out second half and made it really difficult, we are  used to winning games where we executed a game plan very well so its satisfying to win a game where we have had to dig in and come from behind which we haven’t done in a while.”
James: We showed that we got a bit of fight, players on the bench did really well. We changed the team around, to come from behind is a real achievement which we have not had to do often and we’ve dug in & got ourselves back in the game which is what good teams do.
What are your thoughts next week’s top of the table clash at Callington?
James: Both teams know it will be tough and it will be a big game, obviously both teams are doing really well, they are a good side, by far the best team to visit us in a very long time (Callington won 5-2), it will be a test but we will go there hoping to get some points from the game and see where we are at Christmas.
 
Jonny: It’s the big games like this is why your in football, you want to test yourself, they are a good side on and off the pitch,they’ve got good coaches as well, so we know it will be a tactical battle and the game will be won on, moments of decent quality I imagine, hopefully that will be us as it’s a long trip.
 
What are your thoughts on a stellar 2019?
Jonny: For me, it’s been amazing! We’ve lost two drawn one and won the rest in all competitions! We’ve enjoyed every minute of it, training, the intensity and the quality has got better and the players are buying into it and like you say coming away with two trophies last season and to get the double was good. I didn’t think id be here sat with us joint top at the start of the season, we fancied ourselves to do alright so to be up there with Callington at Christmas is Amazing not just for us but all the players we’ve had over the course of 2019.
 
James: From a club point of view it’s a big thing we are now the ranked second team in Wiltshire (behind Swindon Town FC) which was an aim when we took the job, that’s where we wanted to be and we want to keep pushing forward.
 
Photo: @MartinSmithMcfc
Richard Paish
harvpaish@yahoo.com