The New Saints Ladies started the season on a high as they swept past Walsall Ladies at Park Hall Stadium.
The Saints got their new season off to the best possible start, after just fifty five seconds. Sophie Edwards played a clipped through ball to Laura Morris, who then lobbed the goalkeeper from thirty yards. Things got better less than two minutes later and the Saints doubled their lead through Emily Ridge. A poor back pass from the Walsall defender saw Ridge drive in from the corner of the eighteen yard box. Her shot was saved by the goalkeeper but the force of the shot saw the ball bounce back and into the net. Just seven minutes into the game and the Saints had effectively ended this tie. A corner from the right hand side was met by Sophie Edwards who placed her shot into the bottom corner of the net. Walsall had a lifeline seventeen minutes in. After they won the ball in their own half and drove into the Saints defensive third, a cross from the left hand side was met by Jannette Thomas who’s bullet header went past Ceri Evans in the Saints goal.
Five minutes later and the Saints had restored their three goal lead. A cross from Emily Ridge was met by Laura Morris who’s shot was unable to beat the goalkeeper first time, managing to get to the rebound first to score her second of the game. Just after the half hour mark and the Saints added a fifth, Maddie Jones broke away from the Walsall defense but her shot was saved by the goalkeeper who was unable to hold the ball and Emily Ridge raced in to pick up the pieces. Five minutes later and Laura Morris had completed her hat trick. After a through ball from Stacey Garnham, Morris shot from the edge of the box straight at the goalkeeper, She was unable to get her body behind the shot and the ball went between her legs and over the line before she could scramble it away. This saw the Saints go into the break with a commanding 6-1 lead.
The Second half started with Walsall penning the Saints in their half for the first couple of minutes, before the Shropshire side grew back into the game. Chances then came thick and fast, Maddie Jones was denied by the goalkeeper twice before Emily Ridge and Laura Morris were also denied.
Emily Ridge then added her third of the game eighteen minutes into the half, a through ball by Sam Berry saw Ridge round the out rushing goalkeeper before slotting into the net. Less than two minutes later a clearance from Kate Huntbach was flicked on by Emily Ridge into the path of Sam Berry who placed the ball past the Walsall goalkeeper. Walsall’s defence then crumbled again, another through ball, this time from Stacey Garnham into the path of Emily Ridge saw her break the defensive line and pass the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. The game would end the same way it started it, with three goals in the space of five minutes. First Sam Berry unleashed a shot from the edge of the box that beat the Walsall goalkeeper, Laura Morris then added her fourth goal of the afternoon, latching onto a ball in the box, before Chloe Wilkinson rounded off the scoring. After a corner from the left side was cleared, Wilkinson picked up the ball on the end of the box and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the side netting adding the Saints eleventh goal.
The New Saints Ladies impressive victory sees them top of the West Midlands Regional Women’s Premier League after week one. All the other home sides on the day also won and all by one goal.
Head of Girls & Women’s Football Peter Wilson commented on the victory over Walsall. “All we asked for before the game was three points. After some of our pre season performances we knew we may have to grind a result out, however the application of every single player today was phenomenal. They all worked for each other for the whole game and did everything right”.
“We kept the ball well and looked to use the pitch to our advantage which we did. We had five youth players in the squad today and four new signings which shows the strength we have in the side. We now prepare for the FA Cup game away to Knowle on the 6th September, which we know will be a different game but we will do everything we can to ensure that we get the correct outcome from the game”.
The Saints next game is away to Knowle Ladies on Sunday 6th September in the FA Cup first qualifying round.
|The New Saints Ladies Line Up|
|5||Nicola Walford (Lowri Parry 65′)|
|4||Kate Huntbach ©|
|8||Sophie Edwards (1) (Sam Berry 55′)|
|7||Laura Morris (4)|
|11||Jade Hill (Chloe Wilkinson 60′)|
|9||Emily Ridge (4)|
|3||Sam Berry (Sophie Edwards 55′)|
|12||Chloe Wilkinson (Jade Hill 60′)|
|45||Lowri Parry (Nic Walford 65′)|