Bath City Women (2) 3 Pen Mill Ladies (1) 2 – Sunday 29 January 2023 – Somerset County WFL Div 1 – Twerton Park

Bath City Women (2) 3 Pen Mill Ladies (1) 2 – Sunday 29 January 2023 – Somerset County WFL Div 1 – Twerton Park

Match Report by Fin Harlow.

Annie Hervey’s brace and Ashanti Golding’s first goal of the season secured Bath City Women’s 3-2 win over runaway league leaders Pen Mill Ladies.

The Romans’ victory against the reigning champions was the Yeovil based side’s first league defeat since January 2022 and ended their run of nine straight league victories this term.

The visitors opened and concluded the scoring with Letty Templer netting inside two minutes and Megan Gratton’s terrific strike from distance on 69 forcing a nervy finale.

They were also denied a penalty in the closing moments when Harleigh Curtis appeared to handle Charlie Lewis’ hopeful ball forward, but referee Mark Vipond was unmoved and Lewis’ protests saw her sinbinned, leaving the visitors down to 10 players for the dying stages.

The league leaders took the lead when Templer collected Becca Roberts’ pass, broke clear of the defence and calmly passed the ball back across Sophie Campbell from eight yards.

Bath levelled just two minutes later. Summer Lily Robinson’s corner wasn’t returned wide and her follow-up ball was spilled by Kate Chard, allowing Hervey to intelligently flick the ball in after a goalmouth scramble at the near post.

Pen Mill’s barrage of long-range efforts were repeatedly saved by Campbell before Hervey was superbly denied by Chard at her near post, showing strong reactions to tip the number 10’s drive around her right post.

Her joy was short lived as top scorer Hervey claimed her second of the contest from the resulting corner.

Paige Owen’s delivery fell to Chelsea Giles on the edge of the box, her pass was controlled by Hervey, allowing her to turn and shoot into the bottom corner from the edge of the six-yard-box to put the Romans ahead.

They were denied a third when Robinson’s precise through ball was chased down by Tamsin Dunne, but Chard narrowed the angle well and twice denied the attacker.

Niamh Campbell’s sliding interception prevented Tanea Wright troubling Chard after the forward benefitted from a strong Tara Taylor run and pass. Like the second goal, Pen Mill’s relief was soon extinguished as another corner proved their undoing.

Robinson’s initial flag-kick was cleared by Lewis back to the taker. Her second ball was inadvertently back-headed by the defender leaving Chard to desperately claw away, but she could only find the gleeful Golding to poke home her first goal for the Stripes.

The Pen Mill attack continued to take long range efforts at the City goal, and after sending two off target, the impressive Gratton improved her accuracy to wallop home from 25 yards, leaving Campbell no chance in goal as the ball grazed the underside of the bar away from her desperate reach.

Mill struggled to break through again with Owen and Curtis in outstanding form at the heart of the defence, but they were aggrieved in the 88th minute after Curtis chested the ball onto her arm just inside the box, causing mass protests from the away side.

The arguments from Lewis saw her sin-binned for the remainder of the game, all but ending hopes of a comeback.

The tense conclusion continued into stoppage time as Pen Mill substitute Erin McDaid closed down Hervey by the corner flag, and after failing to win the ball petulantly pushed her to the ground, resulting in a further caution.

There wasn’t enough time for the leaders to mount another attack as Matt Abreu’s side’s first game of 2023 resulted in a morale-boosting win in their quest for promotion.

City’s Line-Up: Campbell, Jones, Curtis, Owen, Taylor (c), Whale, Hervey, Dunne, Giles, Wright, Robinson. Subs used: Evans, Diegutis, Fensome, Golding, Sub not used: Hartnett.

Scorers: City – Hervey (4, 27), Golding (58); Pen Mill – Templer (2), Gratton (69)

City Bookings – none

Referee: M Vipond