We were delighted to accept Chairman of Yeovil Town Ladies FC, Steve Allinson’s invitation to attend a match and deliberately chose the one against Doncaster Belles Rovers not realising at the time that it would be a 2nd v 3rd in the league duel.
The welcome we received was very warm from all the officials and it was great to meet General Manager, Trevor Jenkins, Director Mark Porter and of course Steve Allinson. The Club had laid on a hog roast for spectators, also refreshment for guests and there was a bar in the club house.
We bought a couple of programmes and were both surprised a pleased to see that the Club have an impressive Fans Bill of Rights and that the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust offer 16 – 19 year old men and women the opportunity to study a football coaching course.
We really enjoyed chatting to people on the side-line too, both first time spectators of women’s football and people like Steph Williams parents, who had travelled from South Wales for the match.
From kick off it was obvious that Yeovil had a real task on their hands as the Belles nullified their attacking threat while asking probing questions of the defence and bringing a great save from Charlotte Haynes in the Yeovil goal early on.
The Belles dominance began to show and we retreated into the club house at half time with a 1-0 score line, Leandra Little having broken the deadlock.
It was more of the same in the second half as the Belles stifled Yeovil’s fightback and all hopes of restoring parity with a second goal from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and 20 minutes before the end Sue Smith charged into the Yeovil goal area and was taken out by the keeper. Smith put the penalty away with such a great strike that young Haynes barely had a chance to move.
Frustratingly, at this point Yeovil really began to play very well, it was as if they suddenly relaxed, the pressure was gone and they began to show how they had climbed to 3rd place in the WSL2, they are a young side and really do have loads of potential.
From the Belles side I was very interested to be able to see Sue Smith play, having recently only seen her in her tv commentary role and have to say in my opinion she is a very classy player, a fine example to the youngsters around her; chasing back, following up on lost causes, never giving up. You can see how she achieved 93 caps for England, it’s a shame it wasn’t more.
After the game all the players and staff are around for people to talk to and to get autographs which is wonderful for all the young fans. We were lucky enough to meet not only Sue Smith from the Belles, but also the media executive Mark Donnelly and Club Director Faye Lygo all of whom were charming and helpful.
Steve Allinson and his team have created a great environment for players and spectators, makes you feel very positive for the prospects of women’s football. We hope to be back again soon.