Football: Marlborough Ladies fall to Spitfires
Swindon Spitfires Utd 4 Marlborough Town Ladies 1
Marlborough Town Ladies were to meet Swindon Spitfires Utd for the first time since the Cup Final last year. Swindon had won that game but it was a close call and Marlborough were expecting another battle.
Right away Swindon proved their eagerness. They gained possession and moved the ball into dangerous areas, forcing Marlborough into desperate defending. They conceded an early corner and struggled to get good formation. The cross came in and landed perfectly to the feet of an experienced Swindon player who controlled it well and popped it into the top left corner of the goal.
Going down within three minutes was the last thing Marlborough wanted. They picked their heads up and focused on the game. The possession became more evenly matched but with this came a quick turnover of play. The control went from one end of the pitch to the next. For about ten minutes there were continuous opportunities on both ends.
It was during a defensive period for Marlborough, that Sarah Thomas put her body into an attacker and unintentionally knocked her down. A penalty kick resulted and, despite Robyn diving in the correct direction, the ball was kicked cleanly into the back of the net.
2-0 to Swindon Spitfires and some of the Marlborough players were getting riled. The game continued similarly but it wasn't long before the Marlborough defence were challenged again and there was a scramble of bodies in the 6 yard box. Sarah landed on the ground with a Swindon player kicking towards her leg. The battle for the ball ended with a heated argument and yellow cards for both players.
It was becoming frustrating but Marlborough showed character in getting their focus back on the game at hand. They gained better composure in defence and moved the ball forwards. Kerry Ash made repeated threats down the right wing and eventually got a corner. She lobbed the ball to the top of the 6 yard box where Alex Sawyer met the ball and flung it into a mass of bodies. Pouncing at the opportunity, Ffion Williams put her foot through the ball and managed to find a clear path to goal.
Marlborough were more settled in their play but the talent and perseverance of Spitfires meant that there was still the continuous change of ends. After even more pressure in Marlborough's defensive half, Sarah passed the ball back to the keeper and it bobbled, going through the keeper's legs. With the halftime near at hand, it was an unfortunate goal to concede.
When the whistle blew, it felt like a chance to re-group. Marlborough came out strong for the second half. They were more disciplined and had less momentary lapses in concentration. After ten minutes, they made some changes which made them stronger in the attack. Sam Marsh made some great runs down the left wing and she was backed up by Chloe Buller who crossed a few great balls into the box.
Marlborough weren't able to convert any of the opportunities into goals but they played much smarter football for the remainder of the game. There was only one slip-up in which a Spitfire player shot the ball and Robyn saved it on the line. It was a close call but the linesmen called it as going across the line for a 4-1 score.
Again, Marlborough did not get the result that they wanted but they worked hard until the end and there was a lot of strength in character to take them forward for a home game next week.