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Swindon Town 8 Shanklin 0
Swindon Town claimed the FAWPL South West Division One title in style with an 8-0 home win over Shanklin at Shrivenham FC thus earning a place in the top tier of the winter pyramid for the first time.
Seven second half goals ended the resistance of the Isle of Wight visitors and led to joyous scenes of celebration at the final whistle with players. staff and supporters of a club which has gone close to promotion many times over recent seasons.
An early Beth Westlake goal on seven minutes after a Meg Vella effort from Michelle Rich's corner was blocked gave Swindon a good start and set the tone for a dominant performance.
The best early Swindon chances fell to skipper Rich who fired high and wide when well placed. Sam Quinn was inches away from converting a Rich free kick on 24 minutes. Westlake was in fine form, setting up Serena Smith to draw a brave save by Shanklin keeper Georgia Dye, who took a nasty knock in the process on 37 minutes. Dye continued after lengthy treatment to deny Meg Attenborough with another fine save to keep the deficit to one.
Numerous chances had came and gone for the hosts and with Shanklin threatening occasionally to level, primarily through the dangerous Gemma Woodford, there was plenty still to do at the break. However, within two minutes of the restart, Westlake added a second after good work on the left by Vella and then went very close to a hat-trick from another teasing Rich corner.
Vella notched the next two goals, the first a sweet strike from a Westlake pass on 53 minutes, then a good finish after beating the last defender on the hour. With Swindon in total control, the rest of the scoring was down to the substitutes. Westlake set up Sarah Uzzell for the fifth on 68 minutes, then Abby Picton came to the party with a hat-trick.
Chyna Collings provided a super pass for Picton's first on 69 minutes, a defensive slip give her a second and then, when Rich's late effort was blocked, it was Picton on the spot to turn the ball home. In between, Dye had made further good stops to deny Westlake her individual treble whilst Collings crashed a shot against the underside of the bar and at the other end, Woodford was very unlucky when a 40-yard free kick beat Swindon keeper Vicky Wright but bounced high and away to safety off the bar.
Shanklin, safe themselves after a vital win last week. tried to compete and play good, neat football but were blown away by a champagne display from the newly crowned Champions and plenty of bubbly was in evidence after the final whistle to celebrate an excellent season.
Swindon Town: Vicky Wright, Serena Smith, Alison Witts, Chenise Austin, Sam Quinn, Chyna Collings, Michelle Rich, Beth Westlake, Meg Vella, Ellie Maynard, Meg Attenborough. Subs: Robyn Levett, Alice Smith, Abby Picton, Sarah Uzzell, Natalie Haigh.
Shanklin: Georgia Dye, Deanna Childs, Sammie Mumford, Beki Ryder, Shannon Kilcullen, Naomi Cooper, Tiff Moul, Gemma Woodford, Katy Rawlinson, Marika Bebere, Danielle Merryfield. Subs: Faye Spink, Dani Morris.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Chyna Collings slides in to tackle Naomi Cooper
(middle) Beth Westlake takes on Shankin captain Danielle Merryfield
(bottom) Celebration time for Swindon Town
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