Crusaders Ladies 0 – 4 The New Saints Ladies
The New Saints Ladies continued their 100% league record in a bid to catch up with Birmingham & West Midlands Police at the summit of the table. After a 10-0 away win to Coventrians Ladies last week, with Emily Ridge and Sam Berry getting hat-tricks on that afternoon. Crusaders have had a pretty good season lying in fifth place having won over half of their league games.
A tough pitch would set the quality of the game and force the Saints to have to scrap for the ball more than they are used to. The Saints struggled to get a foothold in the game with the pitch not allowing the Saints to play their style of football. The Saints finally took the lead when a good pass saw a cross from Emily Ridge which was met by Laura Morris who slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to give Joe Thompson’s side some relief. Emily Ridge then added a second for the visitors when Sam Berry beat her player down the line only to pull the ball back to Ridge, which was her twenty second goal of the season for the Saints.
The Saints defence had worked hard all game in the difficult conditions to not allow a single shot at the Saints goal in the first half. Their hard work was rewarded when a third goal was added before the break, a good spell of possession for the Oswestry side saw a ball drop to Sophie Edwards who half volleyed the ball into the corner of the net from twenty five yards out.
Second half the pitch started to cut up even more and affect the tempo of the game dramatically, with the Saints commanding the game the visitors were forced to come out and try and get back into the game.
Emily Ridge broke free of the defence and slotted the ball into the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside. The introduction of Michelle Pasco gave the Saints the levelheadedness they have been looking for and were allowed to play their style of play for longer periods giving the visitors comfort on the ball. All three substitutes made an impact after coming on with Jen Smith having three great chances to put the Saints further in front only to be denied by the goalkeeper but she wouldn’t be stopped for a fourth time when Sam Berry pulled the ball back, again Smith fired home to complete the scoring for the afternoon.
The Shropshire side had battled hard and after the game manager Joe Thomson commented, “Today was a battle and we were limited to playing proper football in spells. Instead we had to go to plan B today where we played into areas and squeezed and pressed as a team, but we did all we needed to. With the pitch in a bad state it was never going to be a good game to watch. That’s now three clean sheets in a row and the momentum is building for everyone in the squad and those who are coming to watch us can feel it and it’s a great feeling. Players of the match today were given to the whole back line. They were outstanding and they didn’t really give Charlotte anything to deal with. One more down and we just have to keep going and going and going.”
The Saints travel to Wednesfield Town Ladies next week in the rearranged league game from the beginning of January.
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