Westies made it two wins out of two today; sweeping aside Hearts Development and comprehensively running out 6-0 winners in Edinburgh. Keen to build on last week’s impressive opening day victory, the ladies didn’t disappoint and produced another sterling performance that leaves them top of the table at this early stage.
In an unchanged line up, Westies were quick off the mark; the ladies putting the home side on the back foot early on with some neat one touch passing that threatened to carve open the Hearts defence. With Lewis and Martin leading the line, the link up play was excellent as both made a nuisance of themselves and created all sorts of problems early on.
Ironically, it was shot stopper Korona, who supplied the pass that led to Westies opening goal; a long ball up the pitch causing problems in the Hearts backline which Lewis was able to capitalise on. As the striker raced through on goal, she remained calm and composed before placing the ball high into the top left corner, giving her side a deserved lead on the sixth minute.
Hopeful of building on this, Westies continued to exert pressure and were unlucky not to go further ahead; both Turner and Duff going close with long range efforts in between a barrage of dangerous corners. Jackson and Gilchrist also maintained their excellent partnership down the left, the latter producing some beautiful through balls that the home goalkeeper did well to smother.
As the ladies squandered chance after chance, Hearts confidence seemed to grow and they slowly came back into the game; putting a few passes together and looking to get a break. Westies backline proved more than a match however and marshalled excellently by McGregor and Coleman, Korona was rarely threatened in a half that eventually petered out and ended 1-0 to the away side.
While coaches Marshall, Kennedy and Mackay were delighted with the ladies efforts in the opening forty five minutes, frustration was expressed at how wasteful their side had been in front of goal. Emphasis was placed on starting the second half quickly and being more clinical, both of which would hopefully end the tie as a contest.
Keen to follow instructions, this is exactly what the ladies did and after a frightening fifteen minute spell, the game was effectively over. Excellent link up play down the right hand side of the pitch between Sheldon and Lewis produced Westies second goal of the game; Sheldon getting to the by-line and picking out Lewis who connected well to fire past the goalkeeper on the 55th minute. Hearts were in further trouble no less than three minutes later when the ever impressive Coleman got on the end of a Sheldon cross to edge Westies further ahead and score her second goal in as many games.
Rattled, Westies star striker Lewis then grabbed her third to round off an impressive hat trick two minutes later; this time getting on the end of a Duff pass before coolly slotting home.
4-0 up after sixty minutes, Westies coaches looked to utilise the strong travelling squad and introduced midfield maestro, Naomi Clark to the game. It took less than five minutes for one of Westies star players last season to make her impact as she powered home an unstoppable header from a Sheldon corner on the 66th minute to make it five.
The introduction of Lawler, Reilly, Harkness and Stephen followed and all were to make a positive impact on the game. Lawler caused problems in an unfamiliar centre forward role while Reilly, naturally left footed, bossed the left hand side of the pitch for the remainder of the game. Stephen, now fully recovered from flu, also made an impact; linking the play excellently and almost scoring with an audacious effort from thirty yards out. Her contribution was perhaps most noticeable on the 85th minute when she put Jackson through on goal for the energetic winger to fire high into the net for Westies sixth and final goal of the game.
Delighted with the team’s ability to kill off the game, it will perhaps be the clean sheet which pleases Marshall, Kennedy and Mackay most. Having worked hard in pre season on defensive shape, they will have been thrilled to see their back four, shielded by Duff, Turner and later the tireless Robinson, relatively comfortable for most of the 90 minutes.
Westies now have a break from league duty and strangely enough, face today’s opponents in the first round of the League Cup next week. The rematch in Glasgow promises to be a tasty affair with Hearts no doubt keen for revenge. Westies will go into the game confident of victory but knowing that nothing other than a top notch performance will do.
Woman of the Match – Kelly ‘goal machine’ Lewis
Reported by Claire Sheldon
Westerlands Ladies AFC