by Rob McKay · 20/11/2018
A hat-trick from Captain-for-the-day Rachael Dunlop rounded off an emphatic second half display for West Women as they defeated Liverpool Feds Reserves 6-1 to extend their 100% start to their league campaign.
Without Captain Shauna Edmondson, out with a hairline fracture in her foot, and Vicky Frisby, suffering from a sprained ankle, it was a depleted West side who travelled to the Heron Sports Centre as Vicky Kerr, Amy Vyas and Katherine Ormerod were also unavailable to make the trip. Despite the absentee’s, the game started brightly as West created the games first chance on three minutes when Chloe Spencer won the ball back inside the Feds penalty area picking out Dunlop with a looping cross who forced the home goalkeeper into a strong save with a sweetly struck volley.
At the other end Feds demonstrated their credentials as the league leaders as Maddie Donovan was denied by goalkeeper Claire Jefferson at her near post after she latched onto a low Paige Williams cross. Feds then struck a post on 10 minutes as Donovan and Williams combined again with the formers low effort rolled off the inside of the post and bounced out. Jefferson came to West’s rescue as Feds broke through the offside trap but the West goalkeeper didn’t brilliantly to hold up the attack as the defence recovered.
The let-off lifted West as they responded with El Powles firing over from 25 yards from Elizabeth Livesey’s lay off. Spencer went close again as Livesey then forced a smart save from the Feds goalkeeper to tip a top corner effort over the crossbar. West continued to grow into the game with Hannah Mitchell and Orla Conlon beginning to take hold of the centre of midfield but despite the visitors increasingly asserting themselves into the game it remained goalless at half time.
The second half was just five minutes old as West found the breakthrough with Spencer picking out Sophie Bracegirdle whose inch perfect through ball picked out Dunlop who slotted home to make it 1-0. The goal galvanised West as three minutes later Bracegirdle reacted quickest to a loose ball, laying it off to Livesey who stroked her effort perfectly into the bottom corner from 20 yards out to make it 2-0.
A third goal arrived on 57 minutes as Dunlop and Bracegirdle combined on the right-hand side with the West ring winger’s cross finding Spencer at the near post who headed in off the cross bar to make it 3-0. The fourth arrived just after the hour mark, an amazing 12 minute blitz from West, as Dunlop burst down the right, picked out Spencer whose perfectly weighted first time return pass allowed Dunlop to finish first time through the goalkeepers legs. Feds pulled a goal back on the 70-minute mark as Kenzie Guido broke the offside trap and rounded Jefferson to tap into the net despite the best efforts of Amy Friel tracking back onto the goal-line.
West made it 5-1 on 72 minutes Dunlop completed her hat-trick receiving the ball from, player-of-the-match Jami Hodges, the West number nine held off one defender before beating another and angling a superb effort into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the area. It was the West striker’s fifteenth goal of the season and her third hat-trick of the season. To their credit Feds didn’t give up as they forced Jefferson pushed a powerful long-range effort over the bar on 78 minutes.
The sixth goal came five minutes from the end as Hodges was pulled down inside the penalty area. Despite the refereeing adjudging the initial contact to have taken place outside the area Chloe Spencer stepped up and fired her second goal of the game into the top corner to send the travelling West supporters home happy and lift West to within 3 points of the top of the table.