Pennies going for title glory under Pen-Y-Pound lights
Adran South League
THE Pennies will be going for title glory tonight (Wednesday, March 23) under the lights at Pen-Y-Pound, after two matches played across four days proved to be worlds apart, reports ANDREW KENNEDY.
A 4-0 loss at Briton Ferry Llansawel Ladies on Thursday was followed by a 5-0 win at Caldicot Town on Sunday.
But together they set up a mouth-watering home clash tonight, where they can hopefully clinch the league title in front of home support.
The first attempt to visit Ferry was lost to Storm Eunice in February 20, forcing a week-night re-arrangement.
Long distance trips can be difficult in midweek, with most players at work or in higher education during the day, and several of the Pennies were unavailable to take on perhaps their toughest Adran South opponents last Thursday.
Briton Ferry Llansawel (BFL) had to win to keep their title hopes alive, whereas a Pennies’ win would clinch the title.
The hosts’ opener on five minutes by Georgia Howells off the underside of the bar, just eluding Pennies keeper Charlotte Hastings, proved a perfect tonic for Ferry who chased down everything, with Howells scoring twice again, at 64 and 82 minutes, while a huge chunk of stoppage time saw another goal, this time from Megan Kearle.
But on a night of few positives for the visitors, it was good to see a new player make a 1st team debut, Jess Pascoe coming on at 65 minutes.
Having brushed themselves off, Sunday proved a glorious spring day at Caldicot Town, and still needing four points to guarantee the title, the Pennies in their red (second) kit were back on fine form.
Any unseen nerves certainly settled with the first goal of the day after just six minutes – Sian Bull playing a short corner on the right-hand side and from there left-footer Lauren Boyd curled it into the top of the net, out of the reach of the jumping goalkeeper.
The pattern was set, and eight minutes later Caitlin Davies was rippling the back of the Caldicot net too.
Possession was largely with the Pennies, with Boyd, Caitlin Davies, Lyndsey Davies and Amy Thrupp incessant in attack – all would go on to score.
The first half saw the Pennies facing south into the glaring sun, so the attacking Caldicot players enjoyed an advantage and occasionally put the Abergavenny defenders into pressured situations, but the hosts couldn’t capitalise.
Thrupp last played for the Pennies in mid-December, so made a welcome return to the squad, her confidence brimming over as she constantly troubled the Caldicot defence with bursts from the heart of the field.
She scored twice on 22 and 45 minutes, the second taken at a canter as she first out-paced a would-be rival and then protected/nursed the ball until the keeper was forced to commit in a one-to-one situation, the gentle touch into the net the epitome of an assured goal scorer, making it eight league goals in just six outings.
Four goals up at half-time, the job was as good as done, with the second half notable for another 28 minutes of play for Jess Pascoe and Lyndsey Davies finding the net.
The first half had already seen Lyndsey’s header into the net ruled out for offside, so the 81st minute goal was long overdue.
Team boss Craig Morgan-Hill described the day’s performance as: “The perfect response to Thursday.
“There were a lot of hurting players today, they wanted to make amends.
“A league is won over a season and not one game and we’ve reiterated that to them. It’s still in our hands so we look forward to Wednesday now.”
A draw tonight against Cascade Youth Club FC Ladies – who are only just outside the title race – would see 35 points and goal difference coming into play, which is in Aber’s favour, while a win would create an unassailable total for BFL to match.
This could be a momentous night for Abergavenny Women FC as they could win the league title and stake a claim to return to Tier One status, becoming an Adran Premier side.
Whatever happens, the team has proven time and time again that it can completely out-play most Tier Two sides – 127 goals have been scored across all competitions this season – but the final decision on any would-be promotion remains with the FAW.
It cannot be understated that Abergavenny Women FC has this year gained the goodwill of people way beyond the club, both in its attempts to make sense of last year’s demotion and then in the way the team has set out to do its talking on the pitch.
Tonight has the potential to be a big night in the history of the local women’s football team, and the club would love to see plenty of support. Cascade will be tough opposition, and the match of the year is at hand, with kick-off at 7.45pm under the new floodlights at Pen-Y-Pound.
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