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Swindon Town 1 Keynsham Town 1
Swindon Town were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Keynsham Town in an exciting and closely fought FAWPL Division One South West encounter at Shrivenham FC.
Both teams had good chances to settle the match in their favour, Swindon missing a first half penalty but in the end an early Leanne Lapham header for Keynsham was cancelled out by Sam Quinn's equaliser with fifteen minutes left, a result which saw Larkhall Athletic take over the leadership.
Swindon had not played for four weeks and were rocked by a 12th minute setback when a perfectly delivered cross by Cristina Vega Leandro was nodded home at close range on the far post by Lapham. The response was immediate as a Beth Westlake corner was met by an Ellie Maynard header which was very nearly forced in from close to goal. Swindon skipper Michelle Rich had a long range effort just over, then Westlake's fine run into the area was halted by a Jade Lorton-Radburn tackle.
Keynsham keeper Collette Bell held a Rich free kick on 29 minutes and then made a fine diving stop low to her right from the same player. Keynsham were always dangerous themselves, forcing some last ditch defending in front of Robyn Levett's goal but the clearest chances fell to the home side. On 41 minutes, Swindon were awarded a penalty but Chenise Austin's kick was turned over the bar by Bell to allow the visitors a half time lead which they had nearly doubled right on the break with a Pilar Garcia header from a corner flying just wide.
A Rich free kick on 47 minutes led to a scramble with Bell saving right on her line, then Westlake, who was lively throughout, had a good run and cross-shot wide of the far post. Keynsham's Vega broke on the right and her cross just evaded Justine Lorton-Radburn's head on 54 minutes, then Bell held a drive from Meg Attenborough.
Swindon nearly equalised from a similar position to the Keynsham opener, but Bell got a vital hand to divert the cross away from goal. Chances came and went at both ends, Keynsham coming closest from a corner with Rich on hand to clear off the line on 67 minutes.
Abbie Picton shot over on the turn and Chyna Collings went close as the hosts pressed but the equaliser was not long delayed. Westlake's corner was half cleared to the edge of the area where Quinn fired a powerful low drive through a crowded area and past Bell on 74 minutes.
Both teams continued to create decent chances right to the final whistle with Levett saving well from Lapham and Alice Smith setting up sub Alison Witts for a first time shot held by Bell but the points ended up being shared after a good contest which was warmly applauded by the good crowd in the glorious autumn sun.
The FA Cup offers a fascinating clash next week between Swindon and new league leaders Larkhall whilst Keynsham have a home tie against Maidenhead United before league battles resume.
Swindon Town: Robyn Levett, Alice Smith, Serena Smith, Sam Quinn, Chenise Austin, Beth Westlake, Michelle Rich, Chyna Collings, Meg Attenborough, Abbie Picton, Ellie Maynard. Subs: Sally Butterfield, Alison Witts, Natasha Perry.
Keynsham Town: Collette Bell, Alex Newman, Hannah Davies, Sinead Melinn, Jade Lorton-Radburn, Rachel Cullen, Pilar Garcia, Cristina Vega Leandro, Justine Lorton-Radburn, Leanne Lapham, Lauren Struszczak. Subs: Fleur Jenkins, Andreea Alexandru.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Chenise Austin is pursued by Leanne Lapham
(middle) Beth Westlake holds off a challenge from Fleur Jenkins
(bottom) Jade Lorton-Radburn about to clear away from Abbie Picton
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