Salford City Lionesses kept a first clean sheet of the season at Burscough Dynamo as they put last weekend’s County Cup defeat behind them with a resounding 12-0 win.
Despite their best efforts early on and a strong show of discipline, the best and only real chance the hosts created was in the fifth minute when Jade Sparrow found space for a shot inside the six-yard area, but could only fire straight at Jess Duke.
From that point The Lionesses seized control starting with Abby Bennett’s ninth goal of the season, a curling effort into the top corner from around the edge of the area after Beth Tattersall played her in.
In the 15th minute Salford had a couple of corners; from the first Ellen Thornton’s header was deflected over, and the second was met by Holly Marshal whose header looped over the net. A minute later Pip Wakefield struck an effort towards the bottom corner, but Dynamo ‘keeper Kara Deary managed to get down to make the save.
Set pieces until this point haven’t been a strong part of The Lionesses’ game this season, but Laura Tobin nearly doubled the lead from one in the 21st minute until her header went over the bar. Pressure was still building as Salford kept Burscough on the back foot, and around the half hour mark Charlie Shaw ventured to the edge of the area to take a shot which Deary caught.
Eventually a second goal did arrive, and it was a debut strike for Marshal as she reacted first to a hesitant Burscough clearance to rifle a shot into the roof of the net, well betting Deary’s reach this time. With 10 minutes to go of the first half, it appeared to open the floodgates for a depleting Burscough.
Captain Beth Tattersall has been in tremendous form this month with 10 goals from three games, and she made that 11 in four on the 40 minute mark with a similarly fashioned goal to Marshal’s. A corner wasn’t convincingly cleared by the hosts, and as the ball came out to Tattersall on the edge of the area she lined up a shot and found the target.
Marshal doubled her tally in the 44th minute, rolling a shot into the bottom corner as Burscough gave her time and space on the edge of the area from another cleared cross which came to the midfielder.
But with virtually the last kick of the half Bennett doubled her tally to make it 5-0 going into the break with another spectacularly lobbed free-kick from 30 yards out that dipped just underneath the crossbar and well out of Deary’s reach. That was her 11th goal of the season, and with some of the strikes so far she could well be running her own goal of the season competition…
HALF TIME: Burscough Dynamo 0-5 Salford City Lionesses
Their early discipline and line seemed to have dissipated for Burscough, and early in the second half they conceded a penalty after a handball by a defender in the area. Wakefield stepped up immediately, but fired over from the spot. Seven minutes later she had chance to redeem herself with a curling shot from the top of the area which was saved by Deary, who then denied substitute Feiruz Abdullahi before again keeping Wakefield out.
She was beaten in the 58th minute though as former Barr Hill striker Wakefield took a great first touch from a through ball to beat her defender, then placed a low shot into the bottom corner.
The defence had been particularly quiet after the opening 10 minutes or so, but Thornton tried to change that with an attempt at goal. Bennett delivered a free kick from the right which the centre back got to first from six yards, but she could only glance her header wide by a matter of inches.
With the amount of rain in the days leading up to the game there had been some doubt, and credit to Burscough for getting the game on. Contrary to any assumptions about the pitch being heavy, Salford were starting to play some neat football and Stacey Barley finished off one such move in the 69th minute. It started with Bennett on the right in the final third who picked out Tattersall in the middle, and after a touch to control possession was shifted onto Barley in space on the left who sliced a shot into the top right after reaching the area.
More space was starting to open up at the back and Abdullahi capitalised in the 75th minute with her first of the afternoon. Again Burscough were opened up with some slick passing, and Abdullahi kept her composure to tuck a shot into the far post from the left-hand side.
The last 10 minutes unfortunately became devastating to Burscough, who are yet to pick a point up this season. In the 82nd minute Tattersall was fouled in the area and Jess Lawson stepped up to put the penalty away into the bottom left-hand corner. Abdullahi then doubled her tally in the 86th minute as she raced onto Tattersall’s through ball, then rounded Deary and a covering defender to finish into an open net.
By the time the 88th minute arrived Salford had scored another two as Lawson powerfully finished into the bottom left-hand corner, and Abdullahi completed her hat-trick with a header from Ainscough’s right-wing cross; she is yet to not score in a league game so far this season still.
FULL TIME: Burscough Dynamo 0-12 Salford City Lionesses
Despite some high score lines, this is the most comprehensive win of the season so far as the defence can finally celebrate a clean sheet, and the team can celebrate going top of the table for the first time (although Curzon Ashton Ladies are a point behind with two games in hand).
Next up is the return fixture against Chester next Sunday at Partington Sports Village before a huge game against so far unbeaten Curzon the week after.