The New Saints Ladies had a first half to remember as they booked their place in the third qualifying round after scoring four first half goals.
The Saints couldn’t have asked for a better start, taking the lead after forty one seconds. Laura Morris slotted past the goalkeeper after Sophie Edwards set up the winger. Less that ten minutes later and Morris had doubled her tally for the afternoon, once again a clinical finish past the Billbrook goalkeeper giving the hosts a commanding lead. Like any FA Cup tie there was always going to be a sting in the favorites tail, and just four minutes later Billbrook Ladies pulled a goal back. The game was very end to end at this point but the hosts nerves were calmed by leading scorer Emily Ridge. Ridge broke clear of the defense and slotted the Saints third goal. Ridge won the leagues top goalscorer last season and her form so far this season suggests she will challenge for it again, on the stroke of half time Ridge claimed her second of the game giving the Saints a commanding half time lead.
The second half was a complete reversal of the first. Nether team could hold on to possession for long periods of time. The Saints still created chances but the strikers were unable to convert, the best of these falling to Maddie Jones who fired wide from point blank range. The Saints were boosted by the introductions from the bench. Former Northern Ireland international Sarah Burke came on for Jodie Sands and Charlotte Canlett made her return debut, coming on for Emily Ridge. The Saints sealed the game off in the dying minutes, Laura Morris completing her hatrick and rapping up a very unconvincing 5-1 win.
Manager Joe Thompson has this to say about the win. “In all honesty, we weren’t great today, But sometimes you have them days. We like to control games and have the majority of possession today at times. I thought we lacked a bit of composure. Having said that we did score five and could have scored more so we can’t be to disappointed at the end of the day. We’re into the next round and you can’t ask for more than that.”
“We go again next week and hopefully we’ll be back to our best. Ceri was excellent today and she’s growing in confidence week by week. I thought she commanded her area and dealt with everything with a maturity above her years and fully deserved her player of the match. It was good to see Sarah back in first team action as well as finally getting Charlotte some minutes on the pitch. All in all when you look back. A good day”.
The Saints travel to Lye Town in the West Midlands Regional Premier League next Sunday, 2pm kick off.
|The New Saints Ladies Line Up|
|4||Kate Huntbach ©|
|6||Jodie Sands (Sarah Burke 55′)|
|7||Laura Morris (3)|
|9||Emily Ridge (2) (Charlotte Canlett (60′)|
|2||Sam Berry (Michelle Pasco 65′)|
|14||Charlotte Canlett (Emily Ridge 60′)|
|15||Michelle Pasco (Sam Berry 65′)|
|23||Sarah Burke (Jodie Sands 55′)|