Windsor Ladies First XI’s hopes of surviving the drop were given a boost following a 3-1 victory against Reading Rebels.
In a must-win game, Windsor were looking for an early goal to settle nerves and inspirational captain Freya Hayter led the way with the opener.
A dazzling run from the left back position saw Hayter weave her way through the midfield and give the defence the slip in an outstanding solo display to put Windsor ahead.
While Windsor dominated for most of the half, Reading’s in-form goalie pulled off a string of impressive saves to keep the home team in the game and deny shots from Elle Gatehouse and Helena Davidson.
But a well executed penalty corner with Hayter injecting to Maxine Bonnage at the top of the D, saw Bonnage fire deep into the right corner of the goal to make it 2-0 to Windsor.
Although on the backfoot, spirited Reading proved more than a handful for Windsor’s back line, causing problems with intelligent runs and well rehearsed training ground tactics.
And their diligence paid off when Windsor failed to clear a penalty corner and a Reading striker was perfectly placed to drill home from point blank range.
With the pressure on Windsor to react, the visitors were up to the challenge and Bonnage finally found a way through.
The keeper went to ground to save a Gatehouse shot but in a goalmouth scrap, Bonnage was first to gather the ball and scramble it over the line to make it 3-1 to Windsor.
While neither side was able to add to the scoreline in the second half, there were opportunities created at both ends.
A wonderful run on the left by talented teenager Saskia Swannack was cut short by Reading while Sally Khoury’s workrate deserved a result and Sarah Allan came agonisingly close to scoring.
The Reading keeper continued to defy the Windsor strike force and at the other end Windsor’s defence of Emma Williams, Fe Marsh and Gerry Hyde ensured the goal was not breached a second time.
Despite the win, Windsor could still be on borrowed time as rivals Gerrards Cross Ladies First XI took an unexpected point at the weekend and still have a game in hand.
With just two points separating the teams at the foot of Trysports Division 1, Windsor must put in a massive performance at home on Saturday, March 2 against fourth placed Sonning Ladies 3s to get more points on the table.
In Division 4, Windsor Ladies 2s drew 2-2 away against Oxford Ladies 6s.
The visitors looked threatening from the start but were unable to make the shots count and found themselves 1-0 down after a counter attack caught them off guard.
But they continued to attack in numbers and their persistence paid off when Dana Faulkner dribbled the ball into the D and calmly slotted past the Oxford keeper to equalise.
The lively second half saw end to end action and it was Windsor who took the lead following a penalty corner.
In a signature move, Nikki Hill injected to Paula Green who slipped the ball to Minerva Christiaan-Rakus for a tap-in.
But Oxford chased the game and in a tense final few minutes clinched a second goal to level the score.
On Saturday, March 2 Windsor host Gerrards Cross Ladies 2s.
Windsor Mens First XI took a leap to safety from the foot of MBBO Division 2 after a 3-1 away win against West Hampstead Mens 3s.
The visitors threw down the gauntlet from the whistle and could have had a couple of early goals as their slick passing and possession gave them the edge.
And the breakthrough came after a terrific move down the left found Edd Lumley in space for a neat finish to put Windsor ahead.
Charlie Lambert made it 2-0 with a spin and strike that gave the keeper no chance.
And Windsor buried the game in the first half when Lumley turned provider on a counter attack and flicked the ball towards the back post where Sean Wright was perfectly placed to guide it in.
Windsor created some good chances in the second half that tested the opposition keeper who made some fine saves including one each from the Wright brothers – Sean and Alex.
West Hampstead tightened up their marking and made life difficult for danger man Lumley and looked like they would get back in the game when they were awarded a penalty flick.
But Windsor keeper Rich Sage proved more than a match and read the flick well, diving to the right to save the shot.
The home team did get a late consolation goal from a smart penalty corner but Windsor’s first half performance was enough to take all three points.
They are now ninth although only one point separates them from South Berkshire Mens 2s who are in the drop zone.
But they can distance themselves further from South Berks with a win when they take on the side at Windsor Boys School on Saturday, March 2.
The second team trounced hosts Abingdon Mens 2s 6-0 to maintain top spot and keep five points clear of nearest rivals BA (IG) Club.
Hat-trick hero Jose Sirvent scored Windsor’s first and last goal in a brilliant performance that saw his name on the score sheet twice before half time.
Jack Snell made it 3-0 by the break and Windsor kept up the pressure in the second half with fine finishes from Mindaugas Spalgenus and James Fenton to take the score to 5-0.
But it was Sirvent’s day as he made it 6-0 and claimed the match ball in a terrific all round performance.
On Saturday, March 2, Windsor host West Hampstead 7s as they push ahead with their promotion bid as Division 6 champions.
Playing at home, Windsor Mens third team lost 5-2 to Division 7 leaders Newbury and Thatcham 4s and are away to Marlow Mens 5s.