The New Saints Ladies returned to league action with a trip to Shropshire rivals Allscott Ladies. After only losing 5-3 to Derby County Ladies in the FA Cup the Saints were going to the game high on confidence. Allscott enjoyed a 5-5 draw against fellow Shropshire side Wrockwardine Wood, thanks to a hat-rick from Isha Alsadek. Michelle Pasco made her debut for the ladies after a string of good performances in the under 18’s side.
A cold and windy afternoon would see a very open game in the early exchanges, with good early possession being shown from both sides. The Saints created a number of half chances but failed to test the experienced Bev Highfield in the Allscott goal, however the deadlock was broken just before the half hour mark, a corner from the left hand side, taken by Laura Morris was met but the jumping Sophie Edwards who’s bullet header fired the Saints into the lead.
Allscott responded within minutes, after a cross from Isha Alsadek wasn’t cleared by the TNS defence, forcing a superb save from Charlotte Edmunds but the ball bounced onto the post and Edmunds was unable to stop Jamie Phillips, who tapped the ball into the net to level the score.
The New Saints Ladies then started to apply more pressure and a good passage of play saw the ball at Jade Hill’s feet, who smartly spotted the goalkeeper slightly off her line and hit a shot from twenty five yards over the goalkeeper to regain the lead for the Oswestry side.
Within minutes the same situation occurred, a through ball to Emily Ridge saw her do the same and lifted the ball over Highfield to give the Saints a two goal cushion going into the break.
The New Saints Ladies started the second half as they left the first, applying pressure to the Allscott defence. Amy Tomei had a couple of good chances but she was unable to keep the shots down. After ten minutes Allscott started to become the dominant side, pinning the Saints into their own half for long periods of the second half.
However with twenty minutes to go Allscott got the ball into Jamie Phillips’ and she was able to turn and drive a shot from twenty yards that beat Edmunds.
Lowri Parry was introduced at left back to give the Saints more stability at the back, also handing the 16 year old her debut for The New Saints Ladies. A scrappy affair unfolded after the goal, with both teams unable to look after possession. The Saints’ best spell of the half resulted in Laura Morris, picking the ball up off a pass from Lowri Parry. Morris then ran the entire length of the Allscott half before slotting in.
Manager Joe Thompson commented, “Today was a hard fought victory and it was always going to be in the conditions. We played well first half and deserved to have a two goal lead going into the break. Credit has to go to Allscott who made our lives difficult and made us work hard for the points. Special mention has to go to Michelle today, who for a 16 year old girl, come into a local derby game and played really well. She fully deserved the player of the match today. We roll on to next week and a huge game at Park Hall.”
The result pulls the Saints sixteen points behind league leaders Birmingham & West Midlands Police, with six games in hand. The two sides meet next weekend at Park Hall Stadium, in what is set up to be a enthralling match. Michelle Pasco was awarded the payer of the match on her debut for the ladies side and shows the progression of the club to produce another player for the ladies sides from the youth ranks.
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