by Mike Curry · 16/09/2019
West’s first home game of the league campaign, and the women were looking to put the disappointments of the last couple of weeks behind them.
The management team made a couple of changes from the defeat at FC United last weekend and with a couple of players back in the squad, both starting XI and bench looked strong.
Fleetwood kicked off towards the Clubhouse and created a chance in the first minute, forcing Liv into an early save. A positive start then, but West were looking for a fast start themselves, countering immediately. Ellie Caddick played a lovely ball into the right channel which Rachael Dunlop latched onto and lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net. 1-0 within 2 minutes.
West continued to probe but their attempted forays down the left were being well marshalled by the Fleetwood number 12 who was a stand out player for them.
We had more joy on the right and Rachael came close to adding a second after a good ball in from Sophie Bracegirdle.
Fleetwood continued to try to find a way through themselves and certainly looked a threat on the break, looking to get behind our defence. However, Ellie, Wilman and Rach Mason looked very comfortable as a back 3.
Both teams struggled to find a telling final ball for the next 10 minutes or so but West were starting to put more and more pressure on the visitors in the attacking third. This pressure bore fruit in the 26th minute. Wilman made a great tackle about 25 yards from Fleetwood’s goal, the visitors couldn’t clear their lines and the ball eventually found Sophie Bracegirdle on the right of the area and she fired the ball home into the top corner. 2-0 to West.
Fleetwood carved out a chance of their own a couple of minutes later, but Liv was on hand to deal with the threat. More worrying for West was a subsequent stoppage in play. Shauna Edmondson looked to have picked up a painful ankle injury and needed a few minutes treatment, clearly in some discomfort.
Shauna returned to the pitch a couple of minutes later, and how! A cross from the right, a lovely flicked header from Biff and it’s Shortz with a left footed finish high into the net. 3-0 to West and starting to look comfortable. A couple more efforts for West in the remaining moments of the first half lead to nothing, and it’s 3-0 at the interval.
Bad news at half-time as Shortz isn’t able to continue. Really struggling with that ankle injury, A strong bench means a ready-made replacement though, and Kath Jones is on in her place.
The first ten minutes of the second are positive again for West with both Biff and Kath going close.
The visitors made a couple of change on 62 minutes having seen a free kick eventually cleared by the West defence.
On 68 minutes the Fleetwood keeper made a really good save when it looked as if Baby D was through.
Fleetwood made a further change on 73 minutes and then had their first chance for some time, but the effort was blazed over.
A couple of minutes later there was another injury blow for West. Wilman had been struggling with her hamstring during the second half and it finally gave up on her. She’d had yet another rock solid performance in the heart of defence and we hope she can be back asap. She was replaced by Leah Dolan who went to the left of the 3, Rach Mason moving into the middle.
On 80 minutes came arguably the goal of the game. Sophie Woods did really well to keep the ball in on the left, near the half-way line. She then set off on a brilliant winding run before finishing low and hard in the bottom corner from just outside the area. A sensational solo effort. West 4-0 and cruising.
The final change for West saw Paige Chalmers replace Biff, and it was Paige who made a great tackle to win the ball 30 yards out, the ball found Rachael Dunlop and she finished smartly in the bottom corner for her second of the game. That was 90 minutes up and after a couple of minutes added time, West were celebrating their first win of the season. 5-0.
Team: Schilling (GK), Caddick, Wilman (Dolan 76′), Mason, Bracegirdle, Woods, Mitchell, Edmondson (Jones 45′), Frisby, Livesey (Chalmers 85′), Dunlop. Sub: Hodges
Scorers: Dunlop (2), Woods, Bracegirdle, Edmondson