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Havant & Waterlooville 3 Swindon Town 0
Havant & Waterlooville kept up the pressure on the leaders of the South West Combination with a 3-0 win over Swindon Town on Sunday.
The two clubs found a way to beat the freezing weather and get their match played by taking advantage of the Solent 'microclimate' and using Blackfield and Langley FC's Gang Warily pitch, where the temperature was 3 degrees at kick off and the surface in very good shape.
Hawks' Lizzie Laws had the first effort on goal but it was the Wiltshire side who had two golden chances to take the lead, Catherine Reid catching the defence square with early passes to create one on one chances with Hawks' stand-in goalkeeper Kaylee Schumann, who foiled the Swindon forwards on both occasions. Charley Wilson had the ball in the net, only to ruled offside, but she was not to be denied, drilling a 25-yard rocket over Tash Chapman on the quarter hour to give Hawks the lead.
Both teams continued to move the ball around well, though Havant seemed to have more attacking threats than Swindon. Laws' ability to switch play from centre midfield to the wings set up the second on 35 minutes, but Jenna Fowlie still had a lot to do, drifting inside Catherine Reid before curling a 15-yard right footer beyond Chapman for another fine finish. Wilson nearly set up another with a determined run, but Reid cleared Fowlie's follow up off the line right on half time.
Swindon started the second half with determination, forcing a couple of corners which Schumann dealt with expertly but Hawks were soon in gear again, forcing a good save from Chapman in a one-on-one with Lauren Cheshire and Becki Bath shooting just wide after a fine run on 52 minutes. Although Swindon continued to threaten at times, the Havant back four, marshaled by skipper Laura Oakes, did not allow them many further chances to get back into the game.
The outcome was settled on 73 minutes with a fine move, Laws finding Cheshire out wide on the right, who crossed perfectly to allow sub Sam Stone to slot home the third. Swindon never gave up and were close to a consolation in the final minute but Hawks had deserved their win for the quality of their three goals which warmed up a chilly crowd.
Both clubs deserve credit for reversing the fixture, defying the freeze and producing a competitive and enjoyable match. Hawks are to planning to play their home match with Forest Green Rovers next week at the same venue with the weather set to continue in the same vein for the foreseeable future.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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