YEOVIL Town Ladies turned on the style at the seaside on Sunday to delight the travelling fans with a resounding 4-0 victory over third placed Brighton and Hove Albion Ladies. Laura Bray was in fine form with a brace of goals, and further strikes from Grace Rapp and Shannon Osman completed the rout, as the Glovers leapfrogged over the Seagulls for a sensational third place finish for the season.
“We set out for this last game of the season feeling confident and determined to finish the league season on a high,” joint manager Nigel Williams said after the match. “And that’s just what we did with a great victory over one of the league’s fancied teams. It was our biggest ever win in the Premier League, and to do it over one of the top teams sending us to a third place finish was wonderful.”
“The pitch was fantastic and certainly allowed us to play football,“ Williams continued. “Today I thought the girls could go out and produce a good performance. We asked them to make sure that they were clinical in their game, and our passing, movement, delivery and most importantly finishing in the final third was first class.”
Brighton have some really talented players, and they play at a fast pace, and showed this well in the early stages with some good football. Yeovil knew that they had to be at their best to get anything from the match, and they went on to take a deserved victory after winning the battle in midfield.
With this battle prevalent in the opening encounters, Yeovil were being tested down the Brighton right, and the back four had to make sure that they were on their toes. The Glovers allowed Brighton in two or three times in the first ten minutes, but goalkeeper Beth Howard, who had a brilliant game was strong in coming for the ball and controlled her area well.
Yeovil made the breakthrough on five minutes when Mitch Keehan picked up a loose ball just inside the Brighton half and played a simple pass through the channel for Grace Rapp to fire home from just inside the box. The finish showed great maturity from the young striker and allowed Yeovil some breathing space at 1-0.
Brighton still pushed to expose the Glovers down the right, and a few moments later their right winger got the better of Keehan, but having got past her their legs became entangled and it was one of those that the referee was going to give as he promptly pointed to the spot, awarding a penalty. Up stepped the Brighton player and fired the ball to Howard’s left, but the Yeovil ‘keeper brilliantly dived to the make the save.
“We are jumping around congratulating the save only for the lineman to flag, saying she moved off her line.” Williams said. “Brighton replaced the ball, and the same player stroked a good shot, this time to Beth's Left and she stretched to save again! Checking the lino again we then jumped around. We deserved that. A brilliant day’s work by Beth just for that bit of the game. However, she was great throughout the game today.”
Continuing, Williams said. “At half time we had a good chat to the team and changed a couple of things to give Brighton something else to think about. The team went out to play a side that was just desperate to score, and in all honesty their shooting did not match the rest of their game. From a Managers’ point of view we could see that Brighton had lost a bit of discipline and players were shooting from all angles.”
Yeovil now settled into the second half and started to play some great football.
Nigel added; ”I wanted to see simple passing and movement, and the girls responded to this. We were moving the ball from left to right and switching play using the width of the pitch. Stace (Stacey Pearson) played a great ball out to Laura Bray) on seventy minutes, and she carried the ball cutting across their left back. Still being pressured by the centre backs she unleashed a shot from the edge of the area high into the net to make it 2-0.
“This was the icing on the cake that allowed us to relax, and two minutes later we crossed the ball into the box for Laura to show her best goal poaching credentials, coming to our benefit again, as she scored from close range for a 3-0 lead.”
With the County Cup final coming the Glovers allowed themselves to change some personnel. It was great to see Justine Lorton back on the pitch following a short term injury. She has a presence on the field that just calms the team down. Another change saw Shannon Osman come in up front to put a lot of pressure on the home defence, and we the Glovers went on to dominate.
By this time Yeovil were just trying to see out the game. However, with the pressure they were putting on the Seagulls defence they were all over them. A couple of corners, one from the right one from the left followed. The second was delivered with power to the front post, and Osman poked the ball over the line to make it a resounding 4-0.
“It was not just about the win today,” Williams said. “We put the team under a lot of pressure, and we wanted the win. It was a game that we have secured third spot, and we wanted to finish on a high. All I can say is it was everything we asked for and more. What a great way to finish the season with a 4-0 win away from home on the last day of the season. Plus we have secured third place in the table.
“The Girls have worked well for us this season. However, it is not over yet. We are not celebrating the season yet as we have a cup final to play. We can celebrate the season after that. We have to continue our professional approach to what are aiming to achieve this season. It has been good so far.”
Yeovil Town Ladies: Yeovil Town Ladies - Howard, Brazell, Williams, Edwards, Keehan, Cook, Radburn, Pearson (Osman – 79), Whitton, Bray, Rapp (Lorton – 66)
Substitutes Not Used: Kayleigh Sage, Jodi Cornwall
Goals: 1-0 (Grace Rapp - 5), 2-0 (Laura Bray - 70), 3-0 (Laura Bray - 72), 4-0 (Shannon Osman - 85)
Referee: Paul Rowe (Sussex)
Next Match: Somerset FA Women's Senior Cup Final - - Yeovil Town Ladies vs. Keynsham Town Ladies. (Street FC - BA16 0NE) 16 May 2013, 7.30pm kick off.
Report by Nigel Williams and Ali King