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Gloucester City took another big step towards promotion to the South West Combination with a convincing 5-0 win over Weymouth at Frampton on Severn.
They now need a maximum of three points from their last two matches, which include a title showdown at Saltash next Sunday where a draw would be sufficient to win the league.
Within twenty seconds of the kick off the Tigers had shown their intent when Kelly Aldridge broke through and forced a good save from Fliss Carroll in the Weymouth goal. It was Aldridge who opened the scoring after nine minutes, chesting in ftrom close range a Jodie Hennessey cross from the right. Further efforts from Hennessey and Helen Wood flew just wide as Gloucester sought their 100th goal of the season, which Wood duly scored on 23 minutes when set up by a fine Aldridge run and cross.
Charlotte Benson-Wilson then played in Leanne Godwin with a fine 40-yard angled pass, but the finish went inches wide. Wood set up Aldridge with a neat reverse pass and her powerful drive was turned on to the bar by Carroll. The bar was hit again from an Yvette Kemp corner as Gloucester kept up the relentless attacking. Weymouth battled hard but were unable to pierce a very strong back four and it was Gloucester who gave the scoreline a more realistic look when Hennessey rose to power in a Kemp corner right on half time.
The second half followed in similar style with Weymouth defending well and Carroll making some fine saves but Gloucester in full control. Benson-Wilson had switched to a more advanced right wing role and had a superb second half along with the hard working Wood and Hennessey. Benson-Wilson was denied by a fine Carroll diving save and Hennessey hit a post before Kathryn Savage scored from the edge of the area after a half cleared corner on the hour.
Weymouth's Ellen Caddy forced Kim Drage into her first meaningful save on 72 minutes with a 35-yard free kick but Gloucester had already added a fifth by then, from a Hennessey run and powerful bottom corner finish. Carroll distinguished herself one final time by denying Wood in a one-on-one just before the final whistle.
Weymouth battled hard throughout but were lacking a number of senior players and could not threaten a defence which has only let 18 goals in 20 matches. Gloucester, also missing players stranded abroad, look a powerful unit with experience and ability throughout the team and ambition to progress should they finish off the job in the next two matches.
Gloucester City: Kim Drage, Emma Hart, Charlotte Benson-Wilson, Lauren Stephens, Candy Hopson, Kathryn Savage, Leanne Godwin, Yvette Kemp, Helen Wood, Jodie Hennessey, Kelly Aldridge. Sub: Chloe Limbrick.
Weymouth: Fliss Carroll, Carla Garth, Ellen Caddy, Stacey Bray, Danii Chivers, Jody Urwin, Lisa Youd, Georgia Rogers, Jessica Taylor, Ellen Tilsed, Julez Towers. Sub: Samantha Whisker.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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