The Lionesses played the first of two tough away games on Wednesday night against multiple League Winners & current CFA Summer League Champions Crown Newlaithes.
The game started off with lots of pressure from Crown, launching numerous long aerial balls into the heart of the Lionesses defence. Abbie Wright in goal was commanding as always and made a number of good decisions to sweep up the balls. Also Kathryn Ambrose & Samantha Atkinson playing either side of Clair Coyles in defence were doing a great job in restricting the shots. Chelsea Norris for Crown was causing numerous threats with her long ball throws from the left hand side but the Lionesses continued to hold on.
On 8mins the Lionesses started to get more time on the Ball and started to begin some attacks of their own with great work from Sophie May & Kelsey Hunter working down the right side to try and play in striker Megan Batey. But just as the Lionesses were getting a foothold in the game, Crown played one long ball over the top, goalkeeper Abbie Wright was unable to make the interception from the oncoming striker, leaving an open goal, but great determination from Kathryn Ambrose & Clair Coyles managed to get back and and clear from the open goal, there then was a big scramble with finally the ball being made safe by the Lionesses.
The Lionesses continued to try and play out and flying winger Kelsey Hunter created a good opportunity for herself and was able to get a good shot away before Crown came back again with further aerial balls up and wide to create more chances, but a dertermined Lionesses Defence helped out by Bethan Murray & Sophie May in midfield continued to frustrate the Champions taking the lead.
On the 21st Minute however the deadlock was broken, with more Crown pressure resulting with a shot from Darcy Cannon which deflected into the goal to make it 1-0 to Crown. The Lionesses tried to regroup and gather their composure and did well to begin with, with substitute Kayleigh Moore causing the Crown defence to play the ball quickly as she hunted a mistake. However a 6 Minute spell where players weren’t picked up, one at the back post where 2 Crown players were and another over the top ball caused havoc saw 3 more goals go in from Crown, Emma Sisson scoring on 30mins, Nicola Smith netted on the 32min and Darcy Cannon getting her second on 36mins to make it 4-0 at half time.
The Half Time break was a good chance for the team to come together and regroup and when they came back out they started as the better side, with Kayleigh Moore once again causing the Crown defence to work, and with Sophie May & Bethan Murray being strong in midfield the confidence started to grow in the Lionesses again. Georgia Irving was working well done the left & Kelsey Hunter being brave on the right, it looked like the Lionesses had found their composure again.
Crown gradually came back into the game and made one really good passing move front to back which was saved by Abbie Wright who continued to play well in goal. 16mins into the 2nd Half and Kayleigh Moore managed a really good shot which unfortunately didn’t find the net. Crown continued to try and find a way in and were awarded a free kick 18mins into the 2nd Half, with Captain Paige Williams hitting a dipping shot to make it 5-0.
Once again the Lionesses came back strongly, Clair Coyles was suffering with a bad knee and Bethan Murray was switched to defence to help out and Megan Batey who is normally the striker was brought on in central midfield, where with her fantastic touch on the Ball and tenacity she helped break up the play and set off attacks.
Then in very similar fashion to the first half the Lionesses had a 2 Minute wobble which saw Emma Sisson complete a hat trick with goals on the 67min & 68min. The Lionesses couldn’ve crumbled after a second time of quick fire goals, but they showed real character and would see the remainder of the game out and keep the score at 7-0.
Coaches Rob Campbell & Gary Wright said ‘We knew this was going to be a real tough examination of this new team tonight and it’s the first of 2 tough away games. Credit to Crown, they are a good side and are the reigning Champions so was good for us to test ourselves against them. For us it was probably the proudest we’ve been of the lasses since we took over and set the team up. The score doesn’t really reflect or show the great character and togetherness the lasses showed, when you take out 8 minutes in a 80 Minute game I think we tried and did stand toe to toe with Crown without really being a constant threat in front of goal. The goals we conceded in them 2 spells could’ve been avoided and I’m sure as we go deeper into the season we’ll improve on those situations. For us the worst news of the night is we have lost our star defender Clair Coyles for 3 months with a knee injury which is a big blow for the team and her personally and we know she’s gutted but she’ll help the team in other ways going forward. We’d like to thank Crown Newlaithes for the game and wish them the very best in their defence of their title.
Woman of the Game for Lionesses chosen by Crown Newlaithes - Abbie Wright
Although the scoreline was 7-0, this 16yr old goalkeeper commanded her area really well and made a number of good stops to prevent other goals.
Woman of the Game for Crown Newlaithes chosen by Lionesses - Chelsea Norris
Chelsea was a constant threat from thrown ins, and her precision passing over the top caused numerous issues all game for Whitehaven.
Lionesses player of the Game chosen by Lionesses Coach - Bethan Murray
Bethan has been consistent all season so far but really took it up another level on Wednesday, also moving to an unfamiliar role in Defence didn’t phase her and she was magnificent.
Goal Scorers for Crown
Emma Sisson x3
Darcy Cannon x2