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Yeovil Town finally clinched a highly competitive South West Combination league title with a resounding 7-0 win away to Oxford City on Sunday.
Having successfully negotiated a hectic period of catch up matches owing to the winter weather and lengthy Cup runs, the Glovers knew that a win would clinch the title with a match to spare. They kicked off at the unusual hour of 10.30am at City's request, but were made to wait a while by a spirited City first half display which left the sides level at the break.
The floodgates opened immediately on the restart and Jemma Tewkesbury marked an amazing season which saw her pass a personal half century of goals and break the League record for goals scored with her fourth of the match. But above all, the club achieved promotion to the Premier League from a quality division where four teams could justifiably make a compelling argument for honours.
Oxford made a bright start and forced a fine diving save from Rachel Simkin in the second minute. Yeovil took a while to settle into the game but began to use Kayleigh Nardiello effectively on the left to feed a succession of dangerous crosses into Hannah Cox' goalmouth. The dangerous Tewkesbury outpaced the defence on eleven minutes but was foiled by a fine Cox blocking save. Nardiello then latched onto a right wing cross to shoot from close in, but Cox flung out an arm to deflect the ball against the bar and away.
Tewkesbury sent a powerful header from a Nardiello cross straight at the City keeper and then missed a golden opportunity after again outpacing the defence on 37 minutes and placing the ball wide of Cox, but past the post from ten yards.
Any frustration manager Steve Phelps may have felt at the lack of first half goals must have been lessened by the fact that Yeovil had played some lovely flowing football at times and that the defence had looked rock solid against the lively Oxford forwards, who had forced several corners, but never repeated their early threat.
Yeovil nerves were quickly settled by a goal on 48 minutes, Stacey Pearson following up well after a long range shot had struck the woodwork. Four minutes later, Tewkesbury was played in behind the back four and finished well. Anusia Rourke was inches over from the edge of the area after another fine Cox save had foiled Tewkesbury, but chances continued to flow as Yeovil played like Champions.
Lindsey Roe played in Tewkesbury for another neat finish on 68 minutes, then buried a powerful shot herself from ten yards to make it four just two minutes later.
Oxford had only the starting eleven, who never gave up, but could not cope with the pace and power of the Yeovil team. Tewkesbury took full advantage to complete her all-time League goalscoring record, firstly outpacing the defence to slide in another neat finish, then pouncing on a half cleared corner on 81 minutes to notch her 52nd of the season and 38th league goal.
Substitute Terri Trowbridge rounded off the scoring on 83 minutes with a shot on the turn which Cox reached but could not keep out. Her 'reward' for scoring was to put on the goalkeeping gloves while keeper Simkin was given a chance to display her outfield skills in a cameo performance on the right wing as the clock ran down and the celebrations with players, management and travelling fans could begin.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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