Somerset County Women’s League division one: Wellington Wildcats Ladies 1, Ilminster Town Ladies Reserves 0

Wildcats were playing at the Playing Field for the final time this season and they were looking to finish in style.

Forced into a number of changes due to injuries, they began the game playing up slope and had to be alert early on as Ilminster played long balls over the top for their youthful forwards to run on to, although they were well matched by Wildcats’ impressive defensive quartet.

Anything which did get past the defence was calmly swept up by Ebony Sellick in the Wildcats goal.

With Wildcats gaining momentum, Keely Coates and Danielle Bond had half-chances saved well, while a speculative hit from Imogen Edmondston-Low from halfway was well claimed under the crossbar by the Ilminster keeper.

The deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute when Robyn Stockman latched on to a pass from Georgia Purdy and cut inside to unleash a powerful drive from the edge of the area which went in off the far upright.

Emily Ayers almost doubled the lead when her freekick from the edge of the area, following a late challenge on Leah Morrell, was excellently saved by the keeper, just as it was dipping under the bar.

There was a nervous moment for Wildcats captain Grace Winter when she escaped with only a yellow after a mistimed tackle on an Ilminster forward.

The second half was much more comfortable for Wildcats, who created a number of good chances through Morrell, Sellick and Coates while, at the other end, the excellent centre-back pairing of Naomi Southcott and Tenika Goss handled anything which came their way with ease.

As Ilminster pushed forward, they were awarded a freekick just in from the touchline. As the ball was whipped in, Ayers – Wildcats’ second-half goalkeeper – came out and punched clear, a clearance of which any regular keeper would have been proud.

Wildcats lost influential midfield Purdy to an ankle injury in the 76th minute. Carried off after a late challenge, she was replaced by Chloe Payne, herself returning after injury.

This failed to dampen Wildcats’ spirits and they pressed for a deserved second goal.

Despite a couple of further half-chances and a credible penalty claim, the game ended without further score.

All players contributed to a hard-fought and well-earned victory, with special mentions to Danielle Bond, who played a full 90 minutes for the first time, while Ebony Sellick and Emily Ayers, both performed well as stand-in goalkeepers.

Player of the match honours deservedly went to Georgia Purdy.

Team: Ebony Sellick, Imogen Edmonston-Low, Naomi Southcott, Tenika Goss, Grace Winter, Robyn Stockman, Georgia Purdy, Emily Ayers, Danielle Bond, Keeley Coates, Leah Morrell. Substitute: Chloe Payne (used).

On Sunday, Wildcats play away for the final time this season when the make the trip up the M5 to take on Nailsea United Ladies.

Photos courtesy of Robin Steward Photography.