West Women made it four wins from four with a battling 3-0 win away to Altrincham Ladies at Mersey Valley FC to climb to fourth in the table.
Manager Paul Caddick was without defender Lauren O’Neill; with Amy Friel replacing her at the heart of the defence for her first start of the season producing an assured performance. In addition, Chaneece Reeves and Leigh McFadyen were also unwell enough to start meaning starts for Emily Croasdale and Jami Hodges as West switched to a five player midfield with Elizabeth Livesey leading the line alone.
It was a wet day, with a swirling wind and surface conditions not helped by another game that had taken place on that same pitch earlier in the day. However, it was West who started brightest and took an early lead when an Ellie Caddick free kick was knocked down by Hodges and Captain Shauna Edmondson poked it into the bottom left hand corner beyond goalkeeper Esther Rodriquez.
The remaining early stages became a midfield battle of attrition until Livesey received a ball at the edge of the penalty area on 23 minutes and fired a hard effort just over the bar from a tight angle. Six minutes later West went close again as a Caddick corner found the impressive Lyndsey Turner but she couldn’t divert her header on target. A minute later Livesey went close again as Rodriguez as forced to push a low hard effort round the post from Livesey who remained a constant threat.
West goalkeeper Claire Jefferson was finally called into action in the latter stages of the first-half when she cleanly took a curled Aimee Hopkinson effort from the edge of the penalty area on 33 minutes. Three minutes later Kyeshia Brown had the home sides best chance as she went to lob the West goalkeeper from 25 yards out but it bounced just wide of the post. Five minutes before half time Jefferson was forced to make a good save down to her left but otherwise it was a quiet first half for the West number one as the stubborn West defence shut down the Altrincham attack.
West might have gone into the half further in front when Vicky Kerr played in Hodges but her shot didn’t have enough pace to beat the surface. Hodges then turned creator playing in Livesey who did a complete 180-degree turn before firing just wide of the post. However West were full deserving of their half-time lead.
The second half was just three minutes old when West were almost gifted a second as the Altrincham goalkeeper spilt a Caddick corner with the ball just deflected over the bar by the boot of an Altrincham defender.
West doubled their lead on 62 minutes when a wonderful pass from Edmondson played in Livesey who made no mistake chipping Rodriguez with a sensational finish from 25 yards out. The West forward’s third goal of the season.
Nine minutes later it was 3-0; this time Livesey turned provider as she released substitute Leigh McFadyen who, one-on-one, drew the keeper before finishing with an equally brilliant finish over the Altrincham goalkeeper.
From that point, West cantered to the final whistle and might have extended their lead on 75 minutes when substitute Chaneece Reeves saw her low free kick pushed round the near post. With five minutes remaining another substitute, Debbie Price, delivered a terrific cross from the right finding Reeves at the near post but the keeper was able to parry away her hard effort.
A dominant second half performance was brought to a close shortly after as West recorded their second consecutive clean sheet to cap off an excellent team performance.
West will now focus their attention back to the Women’s FA Cup next Sunday when they welcome MSB Woolton in the third qualifying round at Brookburn Road, 2pm KO. A place in the first round proper is at stake for the winners.
West: Jefferson, Caddick, Friel, L.Turner, J.Turner, Bracegirdle (Price), Kerr (Callaghan), Edmondson, Croasdale (Carson-Parker), Hodges (Reeves), Livesey (McFadyen).
Goalscorers: Edmondson, Livesey, McFadyen.
Player of the Match: Chaneece Reeves
Altrincham: Rodriguez, Ashton, Edleston, Molyneaux, Hopkinson, Kelly, Shufflebotham, Simpson, Brown, Rowley, Wright.
Photo Credit: @RipleyPhoto