The Ilminster Ladies Reserves made the long journey North to Porlock yesterday with keen determination to continue their fine form. With three wins in a row now they were hoping to battle it out against the current league leaders to make it four wins in a row.
There were no signs of travel weariness as Ilminster started straight out on the strong foot with Porlock pinned back into their own half. Although the pace of the game was a little slow Ilminster set up camp outside the Porlock penalty area.
Several corners in a row from the early pressure saw the Porlock keeper tested early as she was forced to make a save. Another corner saw a header bounce just wide of the goal.
Porlock were restricted to counter attacks only and one of note 10 minutes in with a fast break saw them get a shot off from distance which had Lorraine the Ilminster keeper scrambling across her goal, only to watch it float wide of the post.
Continuous pressure from the away team saw them reap their reward as 22 minutes in Jess Mansfield, who had been engaged in an interesting battle down the right wing against Porlocks full back, got the better of her and was able to burst through to the edge of the penalty area, where she rifled a shot into the back of the net, she is all smiles there, as she wins her personal battle and bags herself a fine goal. (0-1)
Ilminster have drawn first blood and with the taste of it on their tongues and with Porlock licking their wounds they press their advantage. Just two minutes later from the restart Michelle Lawrence sends a penetrating ball through from midfield to Jess Humphreys who with the outside of her right boot, and under pressure from a defender close at hand, calmly sends a chipped shot up and over the on rushing keeper. A very cool finish - And the Daniel Sturridge celebration is out again. (0-2)
A good spell for the away team, but they want to maintain this all the way through to half time if they can. The Porlock keeper is kept busy but finds her goal breached once again on 33 minutes with clever awareness from Jess Mansfield from a throw in, she spots Jess Humphreys in space in the box and quickly launches the ball into the area to her feet. Humphreys links up with Lucy Pitman who lays the ball off to Michelle Lawrence who is screaming for the ball on the edge of the penalty area. Lawrence swings her boot at, a high looping shot and the keeper is back tracking to try and get to it, but its too good, shes not going to reach it, the ball drops in just below the cross bar. (0-3)
Porlock manage to get a bit more of the ball now and are making Ilminster work for it a bit more. Hannah McGown introduced from the bench picks the ball up in midfield and sends forward a delightful pin point ball that curls around behind the defender right into the path of Jess Humphreys who is running onto it. Its a 1 on 1 situation, but she gets the ball caught up in her feet and the defender is able to recover in time to put in the tackle and concede the corner.
Porlock create a few attacking moves and after a hard clash in the left full back position the referee blows for a free kick to the home team. Its direct, but she surely isn't going to shoot from there!? She does and its a high lofted effort that's a difficult one to judge, the keeper is unsure and its gone in. Its just dipped down under the crossbar much to the keepers dismay. (1-3)
Its Porlocks turn to get their tails up, but Ilminster are having none of it, they push back and battle hard, from the back line right through to the front.
Zara Dopson who has had a physical challenge in midfield this game, puts in a great tackle to win back possession and drives forward with the ball, she evades a challenge and is closing in towards goal. The keeper spreads herself and Zara thumps the ball over her into the roof of the net. She fist punches the air in celebration, nice for both Centre Midfielders to get onto the score sheet. Ilminster put more daylight between them and the home team. (1-4)
Another counter attack from Porlock sees their striker break through for a 1-on-1 situation against Lorraine, who calmly and efficiently comes to close the gap and makes herself look as large as possible spreading herself well and makes a superb save to keep her out. That was Schmeichel-esk !!
The match is abandoned shortly before the full time due to a nasty clash with two players which saw a Porlock player stay down in agony clutching her chest with a suspected broken rib. Our best wishes for the player and we hope she makes a speedy recovery.
Ilminster chalk up another victory and continue their march!
Man of the Match award: Jess Humphrey