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Basingstoke Town 3 St Nicholas 6
Two clubs seeking their first FAWPL South West Division One victory of the season met at Winklebury Football Complex and it was St Nicholas won claimed the victory with a superb comeback win over Basingstoke Town.
Trailing at the break, the away team scored four times without reply to win by six goals to three in an exciting final match of the year.
With just ten players, St Nicholas were behind inside two minutes when Shannon King converted a left wing cross. The equaliser came after a spell of St Nicholas pressure when a corner was half cleared and Adele Hooper drove a low shot home on 15 minutes.
Basingstoke, playing with good purpose and confidence, scored their second when Lianne Hill was played in down the left and, though Elise Soper saved her shot, the ball ran on into the net on 20 minutes. The home team added a third when fine interplay between Charlotte Hull and Danielle Chubb ended with the former driving a low shot past Soper on 28 minutes.
Simone Williams had gone close for the hosts with a header from a Hill cross and then was inches away from adding a fourth for Basingstoke with a cross shot turned away by Soper. St Nicks were given a lifeline with a Rhian Robbins shot which beat Erin Davis-Donne in the Basingstoke goal on 37 minutes, the first of a fine hat-trick.
On the restart, Basingstoke were twice very close to restoring a two-goal lead but it was the visitors who levelled with an excellent run and finish by Robbins just after the hour. There was then a lengthy delay for a serious injury to Basingstoke's Louise Ekins who was carried off the field. On the resumption, St Nicholas soon took the lead for the first time from a penalty by captain Sophie Sweet after Hooper was brought down on 80 minutes.
Basingstoke looked to respond and were twice very close to an equaliser. Hull was first denied when through on goal by a brave block from the keeper, then drifted a cross beyond Soper from a tight angle which clipped the bar on 86 minutes.
St Nicholas, who had played with great energy and commitment throughout to make light of their numerical disadvantage, clinched the win with two further goals in added time. Firstly. Robbins completed her treble with another good finish, then she set up Hooper to score her second and seal a fine win.
St Nicholas move above their opponents after this victory, though Basingstoke have games in hand. Both teams contributed fully to a very good match with both looking to climb up the league in 2018.
Erin Davis-Donne, Kelly Rutledge, Zoe Maylin, Roxanne Taw, Annaliese Watson, Charlotte Hull, Sarah Wentworth, Simone Williams, Lianne Hill, Shannon King, Louise Ekins. Subs: Danielle Chubb, Alice Weaving.
Elise Soper, Sophie Morgan, Danielle Shiner, Rianne Lewis, Kirsten Prior, Sophie Sweet, Cheryl Baber, Sophie Bull, Rhian Robbins, Adele Hooper.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Danielle Shiner is under pressure from Annaliese Watson
(middle) Cheryl Baber tries to close down Sarah Wentworth
(bottom) Charlotte Hull is denied by a good save from Elise Soper, watched by Kirsten Prior
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