Bath City Women (0) 1 Ilminster Town Ladies Reserves (3) 3 – Sunday 16 October 2022 – Somerset County WFL Division 1 – Twerton Park

Bath City Women (0) 1 Ilminster Town Ladies Reserves (3) 3 – Sunday 16 October 2022 – Somerset County WFL Division 1 – Twerton Park

Match Report by Mark Stillman.

Bath City Women crashed to their first defeat since the opening day against a strong Ilminster side.

The visitors stormed into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to goals from Harriett Kelly, Georgia Mann and Rhiannon Pyne before Annie Hervey’s fine free-kick pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining.

Lesley Spearing had a penalty saved by Sophie Campbell in the first half while the Romans were denied a stoppage time spot-kick when Hervey went over Kelly’s challenge.

Ultimately the Romans were made to pay for mistakes in both boxes as Town claimed their third successive win and ended City’s unbeaten three match run.

Having not conceded in their previous two games, City’s run of shut-outs ended as early as the sixth minute when Darcey Mann’s cross from the left saw Kelly steal in and nod in past Campbell who had misjudged the excellent delivery.

Tanea Wright had a chance to level within four minutes as Taylor’s intricate through ball found the lone striker free on the left, but her low drive was tipped behind by Rebecca Pettinger at her near post.

Ilminster received an invitation to double their lead on 16 minutes when Pyne’s surging run and pull back saw Kelly nick the ball past Ali Diegutis before going to ground. Contact appeared minimal at best, but referee O’Neill pointed to the spot.

Spearing stepped up but opted for power, blasting her kick too close to Campbell who parried and gleefully dived onto the rebound.

The joy was short-lived. Just over a minute later, Sian Chapman’s corner saw Campbell’s misdirected punch land onto the boot of Georgia Mann who prodded home from three yards.

Pyne made it 3-0 on 38 minutes. Again the instrumental Kelly played a key role, calmly setting the midfielder away down the left. Pyne outfoxed Ceris Evans with some fancy footwork and confidently thumped the ball past the helpless Campbell at her near post.

Darcey Mann denied Tamzin Dunne on the line when Paige Owen’s corner picked out last week’s hat-trick hero as City sought a way back.

Matt Abreu reverted to a back three for the second half but despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, they found it hard to create openings against a well-drilled defence, who were finally breached on 70 minutes.

Daisy Charles’ clip on Dunne outside the area resulted in a free-kick which Hervey placed perfectly inside the left corner past the standstill Pettinger.

With City pouring forward they were sometimes open at the back, Campbell diving to her left in keeping out Kelly’s low curler.

Dunne’s half-volley from Owen’s dangerous corner was deflected over and the same player poked into the side-netting at the second attempt when Emily Bristow’s ball dissected the visiting defence.

Player-of-the-match Taylor had enough energy in added time to go on a mazy run which culminated in a shot spilled by Pettinger, but as Hervey tried to convert the rebound she appeared to be clipped by Kelly though a penalty was not forthcoming.

Att: 102

City’s Line-Up: Campbell; C Evans, Owen, Diegutis, Jones; Taylor, Giles; Curtis, Hervey, Fensome; Wright. Subs used: Dunne, Davis, Silverthorne, Bristow. Sub not used: Hartnett.

Scorers: City – Hervey (70); Ilminster – Kelly (7), G Mann (17), Pyne (38)

Referee: C O’Neill