Marlborough Town Ladies – title winnersMarlborough Town Ladies football club came back from Stanley Park in Chippenham yesterday (Sunday) with a trophy, having beaten Swindon Spitfires to win the Wiltshire County Women's & Girls Football League Cup. Emma Brown reports.
Marlborough Ladies 3 Swindon Spitfires 2
Marlborough arrived at the Cup Final game with a feeling of steely determination after a superb run of results. They were taking on the team that they came runners up to in the 2014-2015 season. This year Marlborough wanted to bring the trophy home to put in the club cabinet along side the Marlborough Town Casuals Team trophy that was won the previous weekend.
Both teams came out of the dressing rooms with a real desire to win and to play good football along the way. The game was very even with some heavy but fair tackling. Within ten minutes of the start, Marlborough lost one of their strong defensive players in Laura Crampton.
She went in to a heavy tackle and headed the ball on the rise. As Laura and the Swindon player came down from the tackle, Laura landed awkwardly on her right ankle. This was made worse by the fact that the Swindon player landed on top of Laura's ankle making the injury worse and resulting in her having to go to hospital and not take any further part in the game.
Marlborough remained unfazed with the resulting reshuffle and quickly got back in to the game. The game remained very even and competitive through to half time with goal keeper Robyn Hill make several outstanding saves including some one on one opportunities for the Swindon team. Both sides gave an outstanding amount of effort in the heat of the Sunday afternoon.
The players came out after half time with the same amount of determination. Kerry Ash was able to whip a ball in to the box from the right wing and Kirsty Miles got herself in to a great position in the box to get on the end of it, trap the ball and fire it in to the goal at the 54 minute mark.
Marlborough were unable to keep the lead for long with Swindon shooting for goal on 57 minutes. Robyn Hill made another great save from the Swindon shot but was unable to prevent them from getting on the end of the parried shot, levelling it up at 1-1.
Swindon took a further opportunity on 65 minutes from a Marlborough goal kick that one of the Swindon players was able to sweep on to and confidently slot it in to the corner of the Marlborough goal beyond the outstretched hand of the keeper.
Marlborough Ladies refused to allow their heads to drop and showed huge belief in themselves with some strong tackling and excellent interchange to keep Swindon on their toes. This culminated in 'The Fox in the Box' and season top striker, Ffion Williams getting herself in to a position on the edge of the box and shooting from about 20 yards out over the keeper and in to the goal to bring the scores level at 2-2.
Just two minutes later, the fantastic and large crowd were in raptures as midfielder Rebecca Knox slipped through a perfectly timed and weighted through ball to Ffion, splitting the Swindon defence in two. Ffion stayed sure footed and strong to strike the ball in to the net and take Marlborough Town Ladies back in to the lead again at 3-2.
Marlborough remained calm and strong, holding on to the ball for the final minutes of the game and chasing down any opposition possession to keep their lead and take the Marlborough Town Ladies Team in to history as Wiltshire County Women's & Girls Football League Cup Champions.
Marlborough Ladies Marlborough Town Ladies 1 Mangotsfield Ladies 1
After an amazing ten game winning streak, Marlborough's last game of the regular season on Sunday (April 24) was a slight disappointment, ending in a 1-1 tie.
The discipline of play, which had been so evident throughout their season, slipped in their last game.
Mangotsfield came out strong and, although being the underdogs, had a very physical presence throughout the team. They worked hard and rattled the Marlborough players.
They forced a game of tough tackles and a constant switch of possession. Marlborough had fleeting moments of good play but were not able to gain the composure, discipline and smooth playing football which had gained them their previous, and well-deserved wins.
It was a frustrating game but there were also some glimmers of the talent and hard work which Marlborough have become known for.
After 40 minutes into the rocky game, Becky Knox played a great ball to Dani Hull on the left-hand wing.
She ran the length of the pitch before cutting in and beating the oncoming defence and keeper with a deadly shot which pinged off the back post and into the goal.
It was much needed. Marlborough got their heads up and tried to settle into a rhythm of play. Unfortunately, early on in the second half brought a missed penalty, continuing frustration and a yellow card.
The team continued to let the physicality of Mangotsfield get to them. The remainder of the game was spent trying to reign in frustration whilst keeping Mangotsfield at bay. Other than a great goal from a free kick, Marlborough managed to do this.
Although it was a difficult game, they got the point from the draw and are more determined than ever for a victory in the ladies cup final.
Marlborough Town Ladies 7 Mangotsfield Ladies 1
Although Marlborough's season had begun with one disappointing result after another, they were finally settling into their stride; ten victories in a row and their confidence was growing.
Perfect timing. The semi-final of the Wiltshire Ladies League Cup was upon them and Marlborough were raring to go.
Marlborough Town had set their hearts on getting to the final and the ladies didn't disappoint. With a 7-1 victory against Mangotsfield on Sunday, they proved that they were a worthy opponent for the cup final for a second year running.
It was clear from the start that Marlborough meant business. The whistle blew and they gained control of play. They passed the ball well amongst the team and it didn't take long before Vicki Pope played a great ball into Emily Sparkes who threatened the Mangotsfield defence.
She played the ball to Ffion Williams who controlled it well and punished the away team with a neatly placed ball in the back of the net. Ten minutes into the game and a one nil lead was ideal.
Marlborough were elated but they knew that composure and discipline was what they needed to win the game. They came straight back into play with a fighting spirit. It only took two minutes for Vicki to spot another opportunity.
She played Ffion in for a one on one chance with the goalie. Having only just scored, Ffion was full of confidence. She dribbled close and then released a perfectly placed shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
After such a convincing start, it was frustrating when, ten minutes later, a jostle in defence led to a penalty kick for Mangotsfield. Their striker hit the ball cleanly and Marlborough's goalie, Robyn Hill, was just shy of reaching the ball before it flew into the back of the net.
2-1 but Marlborough were not discouraged.
Ffion had two more, similar opportunities before the half was up. On both occasions she went one on one with the keeper. Even with defenders at her heel, she kept control and knocked the ball into the net.
Half time and Marlborough were well in the lead.
Knowing that they had to continue their work rate, they came out strong and, within seven minutes, scored again. This time it was a great dummy from Emily Sparkes followed by a volley from Ffion.
The teamwork was seamless. From the goalie up to the strikers, the possession and passing was solid.
Another few minutes and Ffion crossed a ball into Emily who scored the team's 6th goal.
Despite already being so far ahead, it was only fitting that the game be finished with another goal from Ffion. 67 minutes into the game, a corner landed to her feet and she tapped it in for a 7-1 lead and the final goal of the game.
Marlborough had played some brilliant football and were well-deserving of the win and their secured place in the final on May 8.
Marlborough LadiesMarlborough Town Ladies 2 Warminster Sky Blue 1
After seven wins in a row, Marlborough were keen to finish their regular season games on Sunday with an eighth win at home.
It only took a minute before they were on the attack. Alex Sawyer ran onto a great ball from Ffion Williams. She controlled the ball well and managed to get a shot beyond the keeper's reach but the ball hit the post and bounced into the goal mouth. Kirsty Miles ran through the defence and popped it into the back of the net to bring Marlborough into an early and well-deserved lead.
They continued to play a good attacking game but a slip in concentration allowed a free kick to Warminster in a dangerous area. Going straight for goal, Warminster pounded the ball beyond the wall and the keeper and into the top corner of the goal. 1-1 and a frustrating set back.
But Marlborough went straight back into the attack.
Kirsty and Chloe Buller both had some great shots on goal but were denied by the Warminster keeper who was solid. It was only through great perseverance that Marlborough were able to get back into the game properly. Kirsty gained possession inside the box and struck her foot through the ball for an amazing goal and a 2-1 lead.
For the rest of the half, Marlborough just had to keep composure. They defended well and Alana Turner was forced to make some great saves.
They kept the game at a consistent tempo for the remainder of the game. Possession was quite evenly matched but Marlborough kept their discipline and came out of the game with their eighth win in a row.
The result was a good one and will only help to spur them on for their upcoming chance in the cup for the semi-final against Mangotsfield.