The New Saints Ladies’ season continues to be one of ‘firsts’. Back in league action following the Easter break, the Ladies travelled to Leicester City Ladies FC looking for their first league win in four games. With several key players missing, The Lady Saints were in scintillating form, racking up their highest ever league score at this level, and the division’s highest score of the season to boot.
On a day that saw the Ladies equal their points tally for the previous league campaign, nine different players would find themselves on the score sheet by the time referee Ryan Williams would close proceedings at full-time.
TNS got off to the perfect start, opening the scoring with just one minute on the clock. Swift build up play saw Hannah Yates release Laura Morris whose sublime pass invited the speedy Sarah Jackson to slide the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper. 1-0
Six minutes later it was 2-0 with Katy Huntbach fizzing a cross/shot that somehow evaded the goalkeeper. Soon after it was 3-0 as Jackson hit her second of the afternoon after more good work on the right from Laura Morris.
It was all TNS at this stage with the Leicester City goalkeeper called into action on several occasions whilst a linesman’s offside flag would deny the unlucky Jackson a first half hat-trick.
A fourth goal duly arrived on the stroke of half time as Kim Bebbington’s cross was turned into her own net by the unfortunate defender. HT 4-0
TNS started the second half keen to build on the excellent first and the fifth goal was not long in coming. Good work again down the right side saw Laura Morris center for Sarah Jackson to finish smartly for a well deserved hat-trick. 5-0
The chances kept coming as the Ladies turned on the style for the throngs who had braved the second half rain. Phoebe Davies made it 6-0 direct from a free-kick before goalkeeper Stacey Garnham calmly scored a penalty to make it 7-0.
The Leicester City defence was being tormented at this stage – Kim Bebbington finished exquisitely on 68 minutes, delicately clipping the stranded goalkeeper to make it 8-0, before Laura Morris bagged a deserved goal of her own to make it 9-0.
Goal of the day went to Lia Lewis who finished a fine intricate one-touch move with a beautiful strike expertly curled beyond the full stretch goalkeeper. 10-0
A foul on Kim Bebbington brought a second penalty and a chance for stand-in captain Hannah Yates to score her first goal of the season, making it 11-0 with a thunderbolt that almost broke the net!
The scoring was completed five minutes from time when Sara Bengtsson smashed an unstoppable drive past the despairing Leicester City stopper.
Full-time and the end of a wonderful display which saw twelve goals, a clean sheet, three points and the Ladies’ highest score in well over two years.
The race to finish runners-up is well and truly on.
Afterwards Manager Andy Williams was full of praise for his players’ application. “I am thrilled for the girls today. People will notice the score line, but behind that was a wonderful display of football that we have been threatening all season, if I’m honest. I am so proud of how much improvement we have shown this season. To beat anyone by that score line is some feat, but today was all about the performance. We have worked tirelessly on cohesion, team play, and simplifying the game; this was a performance to be truly proud of.”