Promotion chase continues
By Lee Smoldon
What a mesmerising, nail biter !
Tensions running high as these two teams meet again, with little love between them especially after their last encounter.
This fixture having to inexplicably be replayed after the original fixture had been abandoned after 86 minutes of play where the score had been 0-5 to Ilminster and the result was thought to have stood.
The intense rivalry between the two teams was clear with the fierceness and determination of both sides meeting head to head in an attempt to prove their own points.
A tight affair in all areas of the pitch as players fully committed themselves to challenges. A busy day for the physio team and both managers as they tactically tried to outwit each other.
After about 15 minutes of play it became clear that whilst both teams where getting the ball into their oppositions thirds it was Penmill the home team who were more dominant and their midfield was extremely strong.
It was only a matter of time before something gave way for Ilminster as we desperately tried to hold the home team at bay.
A reshuffle from the manager to deal with this midfield dominance and threat from the home team saw a shuffle in personnel and a formation re-jig to bolster the midfield with 5 players and fast wingers.
This soon paid dividends as the scales began to balance out abit more. Every single player out there was giving over 100% effort and it needed nothing less.
A clever ball across field from Graziely Esperanca forward and into space and Penmill scrambling to recover back, but their keeper is equal to the attempt.
Ilminster have been creating some good chances and are working the keeper. They have had a couple of corners now.
Another corner sent in, and the ball is contested by several players.
Ilminster manage to play the ball back out to Tia Shoemark who is outside the penalty area. The crowd are urging her to shoot. She steps forward with the ball and obliges. It goes through a sea of players, the keepers view is blocked, it may have even taken a slight deflection, but the ball flies through and goes straight into the net. (0-1)
The away team have a massive following today and the supporters go wild with delirium.
That goal means a lot to them and a good time to score it aswell, just 5 minutes before half time.
A hefty clash in midfield as Jade Shoemark goes in for a fifty-fifty with a Penmill player. Neither are willing to back out. There is a thud as both players run into each other and smack foreheads together, both reel back to the ground from the impact.
Play is stopped for head injuries and both players are withdrawn from the field of play injured.
As to be expected a few changes for Penmill and they pile on the pressure in the second half. Its backs to the wall now as the Ilminster players battle right down to the last man. The away team are being forced further and further back and relying only on the odd counter attack they can muster.
Kathryn Parsons is proving every inch of her worth back there as several times Penmill break through the defence a few times and it’s looked like there is nothing stopping a goal from coming but Kathryn Parsons is on hand to save the day. Making multiple vital last ditch challenges and blocks.
The biggest of note, when Penmill break through and their striker is bearing down on goal under the close attentions of our defenders is able to send a shot towards goal. It looks all but certain to be the equaliser, it’s on target and the striker is rushing in to follow it up.
But what’s this? Kathryn Parsons is sprinting across from the angle towards her own goal. Will she get there in time? The crowd holds their breathe.
Despite all odds it’s unbelievable, Kathryn Parsons beats the striker to it and slides along the goal line, it’s the only way she can reach it in time. Somehow she’s done it, she’s hooked the ball away to safety. ?
Ilminster maintain their lead. The crowds cheer almost as loud for that, as they did for the goal. ??
The away team can’t bear up too much longer under this pressure something needs to change.
A few subs and another tactical change, as the manager makes a risky decision to go more attacking, to try & relieve the pressure.
It looks like it’s working as Penmill have to adjust to cover our attacking threats, knowing that with as tight as this game has been one more goal for Ilminster would surely seal the three points.
Ilminster manage to get more possession and get the ball up the other end of the field.
Another opportunity in the box and it looks to be a certain goal for Ilminster but Penmill somehow manage to clear the ball off the line.
Both teams mount attacks and its non stop action all over the field.
Another meaty clash in midfield as Rachel Winters goes in for a challenge with a midfielder, as a scream pierces the air, both fly off and hit the deck.
Physios are immediately on as play is stopped. Rachel Winters is in pain and looks to have a dead leg with stud mark scrapes.
The Penmill player however seems worse off though and is clearly struggling. After assessment and temporary treatment it’s clear an ambulance will be needed.
After a lengthy stoppage time, the game must be resumed. And there is only 8 minutes left to play.
The manager uses the time to give out instructions to the players, it’s park the bus time now, just got to see this out.
The longest nail biting 8 minutes of everyone’s life as the clock slowly, agonisingly runs down as Ilminster chuck their bodies in the way of everything, blocking, clearing, tackling. A valiant performance whatever the outcome.
AND THATS IT - the final whistle blows. They’ve done it !!!!
Ilminster have done it, they have had to work so hard for this but they have earnt it and justice feels like it is finally done.
Man of the Match: Kathryn Parsons - an outstanding performance at the back marshalling the rear guard. And an individual performance above and beyond as she strained every sinew and used every inch of experience she had to help keep that clean sheet. Superb.