South West Women’s Eastern Division Champions, Royal Wootton Bassett Town, upped their preparations for life in the SWWFL Premier League by hosting the champions of the division they would be moving up to, Exeter City. The challenge was intensified as the home team was severely depleted, over half their first team was still on holiday and they were down to the bare bones. So much that the the only player joining joint managers Jonny House and James Goddard on the bench was the substitute goalkeeper.
Bassett got off to the worst possible start by conceding a goal that looked offside in the second minute and within 15 minutes were 6-0 down. The hosts very young team including four under 17 youth players and Bassett were unable to deal with Exeter’s pace and movement.
Due to the extremely muggy conditions both side were afforded two water breaks by the referee. It was after the first of these that Bassett had a rare attack on the opposition goal when Lisa Coe, one of the few first-teamers playing, played in Hayley Huckin who was unable to score.
Abi Footner had a busy afternoon in goal and made a couple of fine saves. There is very little she couldn’t have done to stop Exeter finishing the half 8-0 up.
Bassett brought on new goalkeeper Alice Farnell for the second half and she impressed.
The one bright moment for Bassett came halfway through the half as Huckin pulled one back with a well-taken goal
Exeter added another half dozen in the second half. Despite Bassett getting better they would have been relieved when the referee blew the whistle to signal a 14-1 victory for the visitors.
After the game I spoke to Bassett’s joint manager James Goddard who said “They are further into their pre season than we are, this is our first real game. We are not up to the speed or the intensity of Exeter. They are a really good side and played some good football. Its a good challenge for us and shows the level we need to be at.”
Wootton Bassett continue there pre-season next week at Woodley United and have plenty of time to get it right as there first competitive game is not until September 1st when they host Chipping Sodbury in the Women’s FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round.