The Whitehaven AFC Lionesses returned home to play Keswick Ladies this Wednesday after last weeks heavy defeat to Crown Newlaithes in the Cumberland FA Women's #SlightyWarmerWeatherLeague and bounced back in style winning 4-0 against a very tough opponent.
The Lionesses got off to a good start playing some good football and creating chances down both wings with Kelsey Hunter & Morgan McGrady happy to make runs to receive balls after good play between Sophie May & Kayleigh Moore in the middle of midfield. Both Sophie & Kayleigh won a number of early tackles and played quick balls to move it into space to create chances to score, with Sophie in particular switching the play on a number of occasions. The Keswick defence & goalkeeper however held firm and made a couple of good early saves. Keswick looked most threatening early on from goal-kicks, with their number 16 timing her runs really well down the left side of the Whitehaven defense and on a couple of occasions Keswick managed to break the defense and win the ball and create goal scoring opportunities. The defense seemed to lose some calmness and started rushing passes and not controlling the ball well, this led to further chances by Keswick and it took in form keeper Georgia Irving to make a number of good saves.
Gradually the Lionesses settle back down, Anna Teasdale came on and continued her recent good form by being calm on the ball and making good decisions against a tough opponent, this seemed to start to filter across the defence and Niamh Morgan in the middle started to control the back line as she so often does, showing great leadership in there, and Super Sam Bennett on the left got back to her normal brilliant self, intercepting balls and also taking players on out of defense to get the team up the field.
The Lionesses now wrestling the game back into their favor started to create many more chances and were unlucky firstly from a corner that seemed destined to go in the goal, but after some wild shots and defending the ball was cleared. The pressure kept coming now though and good quick passes create further shots which the Keswick keeper was equal to.
Whitehaven then made a couple of subs, bringing on 2 players in Emily Benson-Lester & Courtney McKenzie for their debuts, both girls have been at the Club through the Youth ages from little and have just moved to the Senior side this Spring. Both girls throughout the game played extremely well, fitting straight into the team, with Courtney McKenzie constantly pressuring the Keswick back line and on one occasion making a great run down the wing beating players and was unfortunate to not find a player from her cross. Emily was equally as good down the right, linking with team mates and making solid runs into space and her work nearly paid off with a debut goal after finding space far right and coming inside to get a great shot against the keeper who made a good save.
Debut Lionesses Emily Benson Lester & Courtney McKenzie!!
As the first half came to a close, Kelsey Hunter took a throw in from the right to Megan Batey now playing in a deeper midfield role who collected on the turn and shifted the ball to beat one player, before nimbly turning again to shake off another 2 defenders and split the defense to open it up 1v1 with the keeper, and she made no mistake, slotting it calmly for 1-0 lead.
After half time the Lionesses got straight back to it, playing some good football again, injured keeper Abi Wright took a turn in defense and did a solid job with a couple of balls over the top creating chances, before being replaced by Ellie Glaister who did a fine job looking after a dangerous player for Keswick wearing number 4.
Morgan McGrady was causing lots of problems down the right now for the Lionesses and nearly got rid of her current goal drought a number of times, but unfortunately the keeper stood firm but shortly after the Lionesses went 2-0 up after a high ball bounced down in front of Sophie May who on the turn struck first time in the air to catch the goalkeeper out.
Midfield Maestro Sophie May in action!!
The Lionesses now had a firm hand on the game and chances continued to fall to the ladies, Kelsey Hunter in the Midfield & Sophie Francis on the left linked well with Megan Batey as striker. But it was a ball kicked out from the goalkeeper that led to the 3rd, with Megan quickest to react and get her foot on the ball and then race through against the keeper to make it 3-0. A few minutes later Sophie May picked the ball up in midfield and played through Megan who showed great composure to score her Hat Trick Goal and make it 4-0.
Keswick did not let that affect them and played some of the best football of the match after this goal, creating a number of chances through their Number 4, 7 & 16 and looked really dangerous, Georgia Irving making several good saves. Keswick pressured even more and managed to win a number of corners, with the defense having to really work hard to get the ball out of danger, the Lionesses managed to hold on for the first clean sheet of the season and see the game out 4-0.
GIRL OF THE GAME FOR WHITEHAVEN AFC - MEGAN BATEY
GIRL OF THE GAME FOR KESWICK - NO. 4
Coaches Rob Campbell & Gary Wright said "Massive credit to our ladies tonight, especially after such a heavy defeat to Crown last week they responded in the perfect way. For us as coaches its great to see our Senior Ladies showing great maturity in the way they play and looking after our younger girls as they gain confidence at this level. 8 of our 14 players tonight either turned 16 last year or this year, with all of them coming from our youth pathway, and it was another proud moment for us and the club to hand out debuts to Emily & Court tonight who we both felt did terrific. However you need the older heads in their as well to look after them and we are equally proud of them for their efforts and helping this team become stronger each week.
We really must applaud Keswick as they never gave in and at times created us lots of problems for us and were unlucky not to score, we wish them all the very best for the rest of the season'
Next up is our friends and neighbors Seaton FC Ladies!!!