Somerset County Women’s League: Wildcats Ladies 0, Sydenham Rangers Ladies 1
This was league winners Wildcats’ final league match of the season, and they were up against runners-up Sydenham Rangers, the only team to have defeated them this season.
This also pitted the league’s tightest defence (Wildcats, six goals conceded in 13 games) against the top scorers (Sydenham, 41 goals in 13 games).
Wildcats had to shuffle their line-up a little with Georgia Purdy dropping to centre-back in place of the unwell Naomi Southcott and Leah Morrell on the wing in place of the unavailable Robyn Stockman.
Wildcats started a little nervously giving confidence to Sydenham, but after a couple of crunching tackles from Grace Winter and Emily Ayers they began to take a foothold in the game and created some good chances from both long and short range. The pace of the Wildcats forwards was a threat all game, but the ball did not get to them often enough.
Midway through the half, Wildcats lost centre-back Tenika Goss to an ankle injury after an unfortunate slip – she was ably replaced by Charlotte Mills.
Sydenham grabbed what turned out to be the only goal of the game on 34 minutes, when their striker Nicole Bell beat the offside trap and ran through on goal. Wildcats keeper Bianca Hamlyn came out to narrow the angle, but Bell’s shot was inch perfect, going in off the upright for her 30th goal of the season. Remarkably this was only the third goal Wildcats had conceded at home all season.
On the stroke of half-time, the impressive Heidi Stucki had Wildcats’ best chance of the half, but her effort went just the wrong side of the crossbar.
The second half saw Wildcats dominant in both possession and territory, and they tried using the width of the playing field pitch, where they have found success through the season, but also playing through the centre at times.
However, they were unable to make the killer breakthrough, thwarted on numerous occasions by Sydenham’s excellent central defender and also their goalkeeper.
The game ended with all of Wildcats’ outfield players in the Sydenham half as they chased an elusive and deserved equaliser.
After the game both teams celebrated their successful seasons.
Wildcat of the Day: Heidi Stucki.
Team: Bianca Hamlyn, Bryony Sellick, Georgia Purdy, Tenika Goss, Grace Winter (capt), Ella Hartley, Emily Ayers, Zoe Armitage, Leah Morrell, Heidi Stucki, Ebony Sellick. Subs (all used), Sheldon Hancock, Charlotte Mills, Amber Finucane-Fenn, Imogen Edmonston-Low.