Yeovil Town Ladies made the perfect return to the FA Women's Premier League with a well won 3-1 victory over Lewes Ladies at Wells on Sunday. It was a good performance from the female Glovers, and one that saw Laura Bray continue her impressive goal scoring from last season with a brace, following an early debut goal from new signing Grace Rapp.
The three points have catapulted the Ladies to fourth place in the inaugural Premier League table, and have left joint managers Nigel Williams and Sarah Lawler delighted with a job well done from their team. Both felt that this fine start should bode well for the season ahead, but as Williams explained they and their players are keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground.
"It was a pleasing result," he said after the match. "But it is only the first day in a new league, so we are not getting carried away, but we have belief in our own ability to perform, so are confident we can succeed. Sarah and I felt that we had done our homework and preparation in close season, and it was now down to team selection and the performance of the players.
"Lewes have come into the Premier league in similar form to ourselves, having been unbeaten in the South East Combination over the last season, so we knew we had to give a good performance to get something from the game. It was a good test for the girls, and they did well."
Lawler said that she was pleased that the girls had listened to what she and Williams had said in the dressing room before the game, and they started the game at a high tempo. The passing was good, with the ball getting out well to the wide players to deliver into the danger area.
Yeovil were the early dominant force, and deservedly look the lead on six minutes when the lively Grace Rapp got on the end of a superbly delivered Emma Brazell comer, rising high to flick the ball into the back of the net with her head.
"Grace had a great game today, and she was given the players player of the game," Williams said. "She is a player that we had been tracking for some time, and when she was out of contract from her previous club this summer we made an approach. She is improving with every game she plays, and when you consider her young age we need to work with her to develop her into the ladies game and this league. It was a great goal she scored today, and one that got us off to a great start."
The game continued, and the Glovers continued to pressure the Lewes midfield. It was good play from Yeovil, with them closing down the opposition at every opportunity, constantly winning the ball back, and using it well in possession.
"We asked the girls to put plenty of pressure in the middle of the park," Williams said. "And we were not disappointed. The second goal came from our midfield winning the ball from a slide tackle from Jade Radburn, and the ball broke through the channel to Laura Bray, who looked up and seeing an advancing ‘keeper calmly slotted the ball in the bottom left hand corner."
"It was a really good finish", Sarah Lawler said. "Laws (Bray) was our leading goal scorer last season, and she has risen to the challenge presented to her with other strikers coming into the club during the summer. She had a good game today."
The Glovers were hungry for more, and added to their tally on 38 minutes when Laura Bray grabbed her second of the game after receiving a fine through ball from Rosie Williams.
"It was a well worked goal, and was built well from the back," Nigel Williams said. "After winning the ball well in defence, it was played into Rosie Williams, and again we found the channels between the centre backs and left back for Laura to receive the ball in a good position. She took the ball in her stride, and rounded the ‘keeper to provide a great finish from an angle."
The Glovers always looked the likely winners after that point, and despite Adrea Veiga getting a goal back for the Rookettes late in the second half, the game was well won.
"Everyone is a bit nervous at the first game of the season, as you want a good start," Williams said. "But we settled well today, and got that good start. I think we were the better team, but in the second half we saw a different Lewes team from that of the first period. They passed the ball around better, and had some good passages of play, but we dealt with it well. We matched them in every area, and were unfortunate to have lost a goal towards the end of the game from a free kick on the edge of our area.
"If you had said to me at midday that we were going to run out 3-1 winners I would have accepted this result. I was really pleased with the whole set up today. It has been a great start to the campaign, but it is early days yet. However, we are happy to have the early points in the bag."
Final Score: Yeovil Town Ladies 3 Lewes Ladies 1.
Yeovil Town Ladies: Simkin, Brazell. Edwards, Williams, Trowbridge (Grogen – 78), Osman (Whitton – 55), Wensley, Radburn, Pearson (Cornwall – 75), Rapp, Bray
Goals: Grace Rapp (6), Laura Bray (25, 38)
Players Player of the Match: Grace Rapp
Referee: Mike Hall (Wellington)
[Report by Nigel Williams and Ali King - Yeovil Town Ladies.]
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