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Yeovil Town 2 University of Portsmouth 0
Yeovil Town made an immediate return to the Premier League with a 2-0 win over University of Portsmouth at Sherborne.
One point was required from the final three matches of the season and two first half goals calmed any nerves which the Lady Glovers might have been feeling in front of a large and expectant crowd . Promotion was guaranteed with an outstanding unbeaten record of fourteen South West Combination wins and two draws and with two games to spare..
University, in their first season at this level after a meteoric rise through the leagues, also had plenty to play for as they continued their battle to retain Combination status. Yeovil pushed forward with good purpose as they sought the opener. Jodi Cornwall fired a 20-yard effort over the bar, then had a header well saved by Rosie Dimery, who then denied Stacey Pearson's follow up shot. Cornwall was frustrated by a goal line clearance from a header as Yeovil maintained the pressure in the first twenty minutes.Pearson shot wide after a fine run by Laura Bray had created a chance, then Shannon Osman was denied after Bray had fired a low cross to the far post
University had occasionally threatened on the break but were well contained at this stage by skipper Rachel Edwards and her fellow defenders. The eventual Yeovil breakthrough was earned by the persistence of Cornwall who robbed a defender before angling a shot in off the far post from fifteen yards on 35 minutes Rosie Williams fired a shot inches over the bar after good work by Shannon Osman and Cornwell hit a spectacular volley narrowly over as Yeovil continued to dominate.
Left back Terri Trowbridge set up the vital second goal on 43 minutes, turning well in the box and firing in a shot which Dimery did well to parry, but Pearson turned the ball home from close range to give the score a more realistic look on the balance of play.
A minute later Bray was denied a landmark hundredth career goal in 95 South West Combination appearances for several clubs when her clever lob was ruled out. However, any thoughts that University were content to act as victims in a Yeovil goal rush celebration were proved totally wrong after the break.
Williams did hit the inside of the post with a towering header from a corner on 47 minutes but University hit back with spirit and created a couple of chances of their own .Victoria Lewis hit a super free kick towards the top corner only to be denied by Rachel Simkin's fingertip save, then Michelle Niven played in Gemma-Ann Green who shot inches wide from the edge of the area.
Laura Wensley was close to extending Yeovil's lead and Osman shot just over before Cornwall was twice denied by keeper Dimery. The countdown to promotion was well underway before Simkin was twice required to show her class to maintain a clean sheet as University continued to battle impressively . Another excellent Lewis free kick, this time from 35 yards was tipped over at full stretch and the subsequent corner was caught under the bar despite severe pressure from two University forwards.
While University played well and have four more matches including a crucial showdown with Southampton Saints to save their place in this league, the day was Yeovil Town's to savour.
The final whistle brought long and deserved celebrations for the promoted team. Joint managers Nigel Williams and Sarah Lawler have steered a team relegated last season back into the Premier League. This friendly and well organised club at all levels have had an outstanding season with a mix of young and more experienced players and the icing on the cake for them would be to complete the league season unbeaten and to retain the Somerset FA Cup against Larkhall Athletic.
Yeovil Town: Rachel Simkin, Terri Trowbridge, Rachel Edwards, Nadine Grogan, Emma Brazell, Shannon Osman, Laura Wensley, Stacey Pearson, Laura Bray, Jodi Cornwall, Rosie Williams. Subs: Justine Lorton, Lou Harrington, Kirsty Whitton, Charlotte Hannam, Sarah Roxburgh, Jade Hatton.
University of Portsmouth: Rosie Dimery, Katherine Peters, Louisa Cambridge, Natasha Angel, Kirstie White, Rebecca Ingram, Sarah Stubbs, Flo Lunn, Michelle Niven, Gemma-Ann Green, Victoria Lewis. Subs: Rosie Lethbridge, Molly Booth, Victoria Hoban.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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