Salford City Lionesses made it five wins from five in the Greater Manchester Women’s Football League with a 12-0 win over Rochdale AFC Ladies.
On a cold afternoon in Partington there was no warm welcome for second place Dale, who for over half an hour seemed a more resolute side than our previous opponents.
The early warning signs were there from the hosts as Becky Topping, making her first start since the opening day, fired over the bar after being picked out by Annabel Ainscough. Captain Beth Tattersall followed suit three minutes later, sending a powerful shot rising over the crossbar.
The opening goal came shortly before the quarter hour mark, and was a result of some nifty footwork from Laura Tobin who closed down Dale as they tried to play out from the back and won possession. Moving to the left, she drew keeper Jodie Rowen off her line with her before rounding the now stranded keeper and picking out Topping who, unmarked, slammed the ball in. It could have been two five minutes later but Topping struck a low shot wide of the mark.
Rochdale nearly made Salford pay for those missed chances and nearly became the first side to score against the Lionesses in the league this season on a venture forward down the right-hand side. They had created a couple of half chances prior which were snuffed out, but on this occasion Lucy Pilling whipped in a cross with some venom from the right which was glanced on by Olivia Storfo, but the effort flashed wide of the target.
As the football deities so often dictate, football can be a cruel sport and that near miss provoked a reaction from Salford as Feiruz Abdullahi, on as a substitute, doubled the hosts’ lead. Chelsea Wharton won a free kick in the middle of the pitch and floated a cross towards the back post where Abdullahi controlled the ball on her chest before firing in from a tight angle.
Abdullahi’s introduction seemed to usher in a wave of chances as she combined with Tattersall, playing a one-two to get to the edge of the area before shifting right and unleashing a low shot that was well saved by Rowen.
10 minutes before the break, she had her second and again Tattersall was involved as she contested a 50-50 from which the loose ball was seized upon by Abdullahi, chasing into the area and shooting across the face of goal to the far post.
A couple of minutes later The Lionesses were denied what could well have been a goal of the season contender as some delightful one-touch football saw Abdullahi receive possession at the top of the area. She could have taken on a shot herself but opted to move possession onto Tattersall arriving on the left at the back post, and while the captain converted the chance she was judged to be offside and the goal was disallowed. A fourth did arrive before the break though as Phoebe Duckworth tucked a shot underneath Rowen, who unfortunately landed awkwardly and had to be substituted.
Half Time: Salford City Lionesses 4-0 Rochdale AFC Ladies
Despite what the scoreline suggested, this really had been a more challenging encounter in the first half, but as the second half wore on the visitors found themselves broken down more often.
Abduallhi started the second half by completing her sixth hat-trick of the season, beating the offside trap and bearing down on goal, drawing the stand-in keeper out, dummying a shot, rounding the keeper and calmly passing into the back of the net.
Just before the hour mark Abdullahi added another, playing a one-two with Tobin and taking the ball wide on the right to score from a tight angle. Tobin added her name to the scoresheet for the first time the other side of the hour as she thumped in Ainscough’s lay-off tight into the left-hand post.
The two goalscorers then combined marvellously in the 68th minute to set Tobin up for her second. The forward received possession on the left and a deft back heel picked out Abdullahi on the overlapping run. She drove down the left before returning a ball through the middle for Tobin who confidently strode into the area and dispatched a shot low into the bottom-right corner. Tobin then completed her second hat-trick in as many games with a powerful shot from the right across goal that left the keeper with no chance.
Hat-trick number seven for Abdullahi arrived from a quick double in the 74th and 77th minutes, and with two minutes left to play Jade Boulton scored a cracker from outside the area and right-of-centre to make it 12-0, her first goal since the opening day.