West ended March with a fourth consecutive win and a 100% record as they completed a league double of Crewe Alexandra’s Development side.
West started brightly, featuring two changes as Leigh McFadyen partnered Sarah Penney up front, and Emily Croasdale returned to the starting line-up to partner Vicky Kerr in midfield with Captain Shauna Edmondson dropping into the back three in place of the injured Lauren O’Neill.
Despite her deep lying position it was Edmondson who gave West the lead on seven minutes when she powered home a free kick from a narrow angle beating Crewe goalkeeper Charlotte Baddilly and nestling inside the far post. The West captain almost doubled her lead from the same position but this time the Crewe goalkeeper did well to tip her effort onto the crossbar.
Chances continued to fall for West as Chaneece Reeves saw a low effort parried away. Baddilly again came to Crewe’s rescue as she tipped a header from McFadyen onto the bar from Ellie Caddick’s pin perfect cross. The respite for Crewe was brief, as from the resulting corner, McFadyen powered home a header from Vicky Kerr’s cross to make it 2-0 after 19 minutes.
Crewe reminded West of their quality from the restart as the impressive Shanice Finbon fired a narrow first time effort just wide of the post. Two minutes later it was 3-0 as Sarah Penney started and finished the move. The West striker released Sophie Bracegirdle with a lovely cross field pass; the West winger drove into the box before pulling her low cross back across the six yard box narrowly evading Reeves but not Penney who slotted home.
With so much energy exerted into the game’s opening stages it was only natural that the remaining minutes of the first half would become quieter with credit to Crewe who didn’t let their heads drop and still attempted to find a way back into the game. That chance almost came on 40 minutes when a long ball over the top evaded the West defence allowing Finbon through one-on-one but she could only strike the outside of the post with her effort to ensure West headed into the half with a three goal lead.
That lead was reduced by one five minutes into the second half; an impressive performance from Finbon was capped with a goal as the young striker fired a unstoppable rocket from 30 yards out into the West goal with Claire Jefferson helpless to stop it. It was the last time the visitors threatened and the only black mark on a strong afternoon for West’s backline.
The goal galvanised West who stepped up a gear and were rewarded with a fourth on the hour mark when Penney latched onto a loose ball inside the penalty area and slotted home for her sixth goal in three games.
West continued to look for another goal to stifle any chance of a Crewe comeback with Reeves seeing her effort from a Kerr free kick cleared off the line. Baddilly continued to impress in goal as she first denied Penney a hat-trick saving a thunderous volley before denying Reeves, substitute Lyndsey Tuner and Edmondson in the same sequence with the West players queuing up to fire home from a Kerr corner.
Substitute Anna Carson-Parker also saw a header cleared off the line from another Kerr corner but it was another sub who rounded off the scoring as Nat Callaghan’s bullet header, from a driven Caddick corner, found its way past Baddilly via the inside of the post to extend her own scoring run to five in the last three games.
The win lifted West up to second place following Liverpool Marshall Feds Reserves draw with Altrincham putting them four points behind FC United with 8 games to play. Next Sunday see’s West head to bottom club City of Liverpool Ladies.
Team: Jefferson, Caddick, Edmondson, J.Turner, Bracegirdle (Penney), Hodges (Joyce), Kerr, Croasdale (L.Turner), Reeves (Carson-Parker), McFadyen (Price), Penney (Callaghan).
Goalscorers: Edmondson, McFadyen, Penney (2), Callaghan.
Player of the Match: Shauna Edmondson
Sophie Bracegirdle (c) ★