Somerset County Women’s League division one: Wildcats Ladies 3, Paulton Rovers Ladies Reserves 0
Having played their first three fixtures away from home, this was Wildcats first chance to perform in front of their sizeable home support and they certainly didn’t disappoint them.
Playing up the slope in the first half they were constantly challenged by both Paulton and the significant headwind, but the tactical decision for their defensive line to hold back made it much more difficult for Paulton to play long balls over the defence, as had been the case in Wildcats’ previous fixtures this season.
At the other end of the pitch, Paulton were unable to handle the pace of Robyn Stockman and it was no surprise when she created the first goal.
The pass of the game from Emily Ayers found Stockman wide on the right, she rounded her player and got to the byline with ease before squaring for Ebony Sellick to bundle home.
On the restart, Paulton managed to squeeze through the tight Wildcats defence to have their first real chance at goal, a shot from just outside the box looked to be going to the back of the net but keeper Bianca Hamlyn managed to get her hand to it to tip it over the crossbar.
With the extra space in midfield allowing Georgia Purdy and Ayers to show their passing range, it was Ayers who was next on the scoresheet; a neat one-two with Sellick led to her having a clear line of the goal just outside the box to put Wildcats two up in 29 minutes.
When Paulton did try and attack the wings they were met by right back Bryony Sellick and captain Grace Winter on the left who held them at bay and prevented many balls from entering the box.
Wildcats’ third goal was almost route one. A goal kick landed in midfield for Purdy to pick up and play a perfect through ball for the pacy Sellick to run on to and slip it past the keeper and into the net. Half time 3-0.
In the second half, Paulton took back some control of the game, earning corner after corner, yet – met by the central defenders Tenika Goss and Naomi Southcott – they were unsuccessful at having any shots at the Wildcats keeper.
Wildcats opted to play long balls from the keeper for their strikers and wingers to run on to but they were unable to increase their advantage.
The Paulton keeper made several good saves, notably from Ella Hartley and Leah Morrell to keep them at bay.
After a few mistimed tackles Wildcats conceded successive free kicks just outside the box, but Hamlyn was able to catch with ease and release her awaiting strikers.
More pressure on the defensive four finally saw Hamlyn beaten, only for debutant Anna Flory to make a superb clearance off the line.
With 15 minutes left, Wildcats made a number of changes allowing all players to gain deserved game time, but no further chances were forthcoming at either end.
There were several stand-out performances, but Wildcats’ player of the day was keeper Hamlyn.
This was a much-improved performance from the Wildcats, and they will look to take this into next week’s game at home to Portishead Ladies Reserves, a team they lost heavily to just a week ago.
As always support is most welcome, and the club and bar will again be open – kick-off 2pm.
Team: Bianca Hamlyn, Grace Winter (cpt), Tenika Goss, Naomi Southcott, Bryony Sellick, Leah Morrell, Emily Ayers, Georgia Purdy, Robyn Stockman, Chloe Payne, Ebony Sellick. Subs: Anna Flory, Amber Perry, Ella Hartley, Imogen Edmondston-Low (all used).