West Didsbury & Chorlton Women’s team are up and running as they recorded a hard fought 2-0 win away to Bolton Lads & Girls in their first pre-season game of the season.
Manager Paul Caddick first ever side saw Lyndsey Turner take the captaincy at the heart of the defence as he experimented with a 3-5-2 formation.
It was a searing hot day and West started brightly and created the game’s first chance after just two minutes when Elizabeth Livesey fired an effort into the near post side netting. There was an early set back however as rangy midfielder Carrie Hancock was forced out of the game after just 12 minutes due to a knee injury.
The injury disrupted West as Bolton carved out a terrific chance when Emily Ashworth fed Coral Leather with a superb through ball but the Bolton forward was denied by a superb save from Noon. The chance galvanised West and on 26 minutes, Vicky Kerr won the ball in the middle of midfield, playing out a pass wide to Jami Hodges, who in turn picked out Livesey who fired just over on the turn.
A minute later West should have had a penalty when Hodges was clearly brought down from behind with the referee signalling only for a corner. On 34 minutes, it was Hodges who forced Bolton goalkeeper Katie Priestley into her first save as good play from substitute Debbie Price saw her cut inside the full back finding Hodges with Priestley taking the ball low down at the near post.
West finished the half strongly as Nat Callaghan saw a snapshot effort flash just past the foot of the post from 20 yards out following a knockdown from the influential Kerr. Heading into the half West were again thwarted twice as Price was denied by a superb sliding challenge before Livesey saw her effort cleared away.
However, West would head into the half ahead as Kerr played in Leigh McFadyen don’t the left; her cross found Livesey at the far post before pulling it back to Hodges to fire into the bottom right hand corner from 10 yards out giving West a half time lead.
Caddick made six half time changes as the heat continued to drain the energy from both sets of players as Demi Noon was restored to her more natural position as centre forward. On 49 minutes Noon skipped past two players before firing a hard effort from 25 yards well saved from Priestley.
On 56 minutes West were awarded a penalty as Jo Turner raced out of defence and through the midfield before she was tripped inside the penalty as she attempted to round the Bolton goalkeeper. Noon stepped up and fired her effort low and hard down the middle of the goal to double the West lead.
From there, West remained on top as they looked to expose gaps in the Bolton defence despite a late rally from Bolton which saw a free kick from Ellen Thornton flash wide of the post as well as being denied by several well timed challenges from the excellent back line of Alice Ramsden, Jo and Lyndsey Turner
On 82 minutes Noon almost added a third as Kerr fired a superb pass out wide to the impressive Sophie Bracegirdle whose terrific cross picked out the forward at the far post but she didn’t connect with her header cleanly enough as it bounced just wide of the post. Sadly, the game ended on a sour note for Noon as the robust striker was forced from the field with a serious ankle injury.
Despite the injuries to Noon and Hancock it was a strong performance from West in their first ever outing.
Team: Noon, Friel, L. Turner (c), J.Turner, Caddick, Hancock, Callaghan, Kerr, Hodges, Livesey, McFadyen.
Subs: Jefferson, Price, Bracegirdle, Joyce, Hartley, Hanley, Ramsden
Goalscorers: Hodges (47), Noon (57p)