Captain Charlotte Bagshaw reports on an emphatic 5-1 win for the Wycombe Wanderers Ladies.On Sunday 20th March Wycombe Ladies made the trip to Oxford to face Tower Hill in an eagerly anticipated game, since there was only one place between them in the table. Wanderers lost the home fixture 4-2 back in September but were very hopeful for a good result on Sunday since they have won their last four games in what is their best spell of the season so far.
The Blues were able to take a very strong squad as Holly Hussey-Burd returned from injury and ex-Chesham girl Naomi Littler made her first appearance for the club since signing earlier this month.
Tower Hill kicked the game off and it was clear who the hungrier team were from the off as Wycombe pressed high, forcing errors and creating chances very early on. Some neat play down the right hand side between Hayley Giles and Ellie Searle was causing havoc for Tower Hill’s defence and subsequently earnt the Blues a decent free-kick opportunity around 10 minutes in. Hannah Banyard stepped up on her left foot and curled her shot from around 20 yards out straight into the bottom corner giving Wycombe a thoroughly deserved 1-0 lead.
This seemed to have opened the flood gates as just a matter of moments later Banyard found herself on the end of a square ball from midfielder Rebecca Gooch which she calmly slotted past the keeper for her and Wycombe’s second goal of the game. Tower Hill didn’t have much to offer attacking wise however a couple of counter attacks had the Blues defence back-pedalling, but despite the speed of their attacks there was nothing too troubling for keeper Casey Dunford.
Around the half hour mark, normal play resumed as Banyard sealed a first-half hat-trick and added to Tower Hill’s misery with one of her goals of the season. Searle fed Banyard a perfectly-timed pass across the edge of the area which she struck on the half-volley sending it into the far corner, leaving the Tower Hill keeper watching on helplessly.
This goal really seemed to capture the spirit of the team as huge celebrations were had due to the comfortable lead so early on and the amount of pressure that was eased due to it being such a huge game.
There was just enough time for Banyard to steal the lime-light yet again before the break as she found herself on the receiving end of a sublime through-ball from midfielder Christina O’Connor which she took round the keeper with ease to score Wycombe’s fourth goal of the half. With the referee blowing for half-time shortly after the Blues were more than happy with their performance so far.
Manager Andrew Morten made a handful of changes for the second half with Kim Bignall, Holly Hussey-Burd and Naomi Littler all keen to get in on the action. Wycombe got the second half underway with strict instructions to keep the ball on the ground and play their way through the Tower Hill defence. It didn’t take long for Naomi Littler to bag her first goal for the club with a well-weighted lob over the keeper ten minutes into the half much to her and her team-mates’ delight.
Astonishingly Tower Hill managed to beat the offside trap towards the end of the game and scored their first of the game which was merely a consolation. Try as they did, Wycombe looked to react and score a sixth but time was against them and they had to settle for the 5-1 win.
The win has taken Wycombe up to 5th in the league with three games to go. The Blues return to action on Sunday 3rd April with a home tie against a high-flying Southampton side who have only seen one defeat all season.