Somerset County Premier/Div 1 Cup
Shirehampton 3, Ilminster Town 1

AFTER last week’s postponement due to a frozen pitch, the tie at Shirehampton was finally given the green light after an early morning pitch inspection, writes Andy Fish.

With captain Jonny May injured, Adam Male returned at centre half and Chris Nezianya was named on the bench for the first time this season.

The Blues started well and the home keeper was on top form, denying both Charlie Rutter and Brad Miles with good saves.

Shirehampton won and scored a penalty 10 minutes before half-time to go in at the break 1-0 up.

Ilminster were again the better side at the start of the second period as they dominated possession and created good chances for Rutter and Brad Pitman but, again, the home keeper came out on top.

Ilminster kept pushing forward looking for an equaliser and Shirehampton took full advantage by twice breaking away on the counter-attack and scoring two quick goals that effectively killed the tie.

Ilminster never gave in and top scorer Taylor Jefferson scored a consolation in added time.

It says it all when the home keeper is man of the match but, for this season, the cups are only a bonus for the Town side, as the main priority is retaining their Premier League status. 

Next up, Town host Bridgwater Town Reserves on Saturday, December 30 (ko 2pm).

South West Women’s League Premier Division
Forest Green Rovers Ladies 2, Ilminster Town Ladies 3

ILMINSTER travelled to Slimbridge to take on Forest Green Rovers Ladies in what turned out to be a five-goal thriller.

A much-changed squad travelled, with Lorraine Szczepanski and Chelsea Board being called up from the reserves, and a full debut was handed to Kelly Snook. 

Szczepanski  was called up late to the squad following a late injury to Town’s usual goalkeeper. 

Town started the match well, creating two very good opportunities within the first five minutes that were too close to the goalkeeper, but despite this early Ilminster pressure it was Forest Green who took the lead through a great strike from the best part of 30 yards.

It wasn’t long until Forest Green doubled their advantage as a loose ball found its way to the feet of a Forest Green attacker 20 yards from goal, who found the bottom corner via a deflection.

The second half showed exactly what Town are about, as they worked hard and took the chances when they were given to them. 

The fightback began in the 70th minute, when a great long ball from central midfield from Charlie Pettinger found the feet of the on-rushing debutant Kelly Snook, who was fouled in the area. 

Shannon Crouch stepped up and coolly placed the ball to the goalkeeper left to set up a grandstand finish.

The equaliser arrived three minutes from time as Charlie Pettinger produced her first goal for Town, firing home from all of 25 yards to level the scores.

A great run from Kelly down the left-hand side then saw her create an opportunity to cross the ball into the box. 

It looked just too far for Crouch to take the opportunity, but a great piece of invention saw her strike the ball back across the goal, chipping the keeper and finding the top left-hand corner. 

Forest Green applied late pressure in search of an equaliser, but Town came away with all three points after a valiant performance.

Every player did themselves proud, digging deep to find the resilience which saw them take the victory.

Player of the match was Charlie Pettinger after her great all-round display in the centre of midfield. 

Town’s victory ensures they enter the Christmas break in fourth place.

Their first match in the New Year is on January 7 when they play host to Keynsham Town Development at the Archie Gooch Pavilion (ko 2pm).