Maidenhead United Women demonstrated their bouncebackability yet again to defy the odds and defeat third-placed Swindon Town at York Road on Wednesday night. 
Having made the long trip to league leaders Exeter City only to suffer a heavy defeat in front of a crowd of 2,660 at St James Park the preceding Sunday – the second largest crowd ever to watch a game featuring MUWFC – United has to dust themselves down to go again in midweek. The title favourites had capitalised on a hesitant start by United and after an even second period they gave the scoreline perhaps a harsh-looking five-goal margin in the dying stages in their tight promotion fight with AFC Bournemouth. 
The Magpies were missing key players on Wednesday evening and in the first half Swindon Town made them pay for their profligacy in front of goal. United had already seen Izzy Stockton’s shot cleared off the line from the second of two early corners before the Robins opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Taylor MacDonald provided the assist for Holly Beck-Esson to score with an angled drive, but United passed up two gilt-edged chances to level the scores thereafter. Firstly, top-scorer Simone O’Brien was put through on goal but was denied not once but twice by talented former England youth trialist goalkeeper Emily McGrogan. The Town ‘keeper – whose heroics stopped United from winning the equivalent fixture last season – also pulled off a save from an unmarked Natalie Cowell from six yards out after O’Brien’s cross. 
Just before half time the away side extended their lead. United demonstrated some uncertainty at the back and Annie Colston – top scorer in the FAWNL Division 1 South West this season – demonstrated her finishing ability to check inside and slot home her thirty-first goal of the season. With two young Development team players and a goalkeeper on the bench it seemed that Ed Jackson-Norris’s options were limited in terms of changing the game but instead, he saw his side step up several gears at the start of the second period to have Swindon Town running scared. 
The arrears were halved within three minutes of the second half. Canadian right-back Trinity Esprit made a storming run and laid the ball off to O’Brien, whose cross saw Cowell climb with McGrogan and nod the loose ball down to Stockton who drove her shot past covering defenders. Just after the hour mark the scores were level when more skillful play from Esprit set up Stockton whose clever flick was finished by O’Brien. The turnaround was complete twelve minutes from time when Esprit’s cross to the far post was buried by Stockton who brought up a dozen goals for the campaign to spark some delirious celebrations. Four of Town’s five league defeats so far this season had come against the runaway title rivals Exeter City and AFC Bournemouth but they were now staring down the barrel of a second successive league defeat. 
There was drama yet to come, with the Magpies racking up three cautions as the visitors tried to work their way back into the game – including goalkeeper Kenny Clarke who was deployed as an outfield substitute. They still required goalkeeper Rosie Wilmott-Joyce to make a splendid save with her feet from substitute Georgia Vandries. Battling Maidenhead held out through ten long minutes of stoppage time to secure victory in what manager Jackson-Norris said afterward had been his “favourite match” in charge of MUWFC. 
Tagged as: Club, Women
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