After a very nervous opening, Winchester City Women picked up their first three points of the season against old rivals Red Star. City rode their luck early on and Red Star were unlucky to see a thunderous strike canon off the crossbar and out to safety within the first minute. City took a while to settle and their nerves could be seen by the amount of silly freekicks given away. Emily Langstone tested the keeper from long range and then had a fine freekick saved with Sarah Lewis unable to convert the rebound. It was from another freekkick that City took the lead with Bex Cleary curling the ball over the wall and between keeper and near post with Holly Parton following in to make sure the ball was over the line. There were few goal scoring oppurtunities in the first half with Lee Thubron being well protected by the City defence with the returning Laura McLaughlan being paticularly impressive and Martina O’Flynn keeping the midfield tight.
City continued their dominance in the second half but could not find the way through to increase the scoreline. Red Star’s attempt to use their pace on the counter attack was being well marshalled by Sorcha Hagger and Cleary in defence, restricting Red Star to only one shot in the second half. It took a couple of inspired substitutions to turn the game. First substitute Vicky Horner wrestled the ball away from two Red Star attackers before confidently playing in Langstone in midfield who in turn cooly slotted the ball foward to Parton to score. It was then the turn of second substitute Sara Gilbert to make an instant impression by scoring with her first touch after Parton’s shot had been half blocked. City were now comfortably in control of the game and it was only the conceding of a very scrappy goal at the end that took the shine off this game. However, City are showing marked signs of improvement and will need to continue to improve if they want to get anything against Salisbury in their next match.