The Hawks returned to competitive action with a magnificent win as they eased past Wodson Park in the ERWFL Challenge Cup.
It was a tough start to the match for the Hawks, as they dominated possession but struggled to break down the resilience of Wodson Park. The first notable chance came just before the 15-minute mark as Olivia Steele headed the ball towards goal but it was just over the bar.
The visitors found it hard to gain any possession and that was clear when they attempted a shot from outside the box but it was comfortably into the hands of Sarah Walker. Minutes later, Davina Smith had a couple of efforts on goal; a long range effort was fired over the bar before another shot was dragged inches wide of the target but it remained goalless as the game approached the half-hour mark.
Hannah Porter gave the opposition something to think about as she got her head to a corner ball but she could only direct it over the bar. Wodson hadn’t taken notice of the warning and a minute later, Porter put the Hawks ahead as she headed it beyond the keeper.
The goal only gave the ladies confidence as they began to bring the ball forward more. Laura Mills saw her shot parried towards the path of Georgia Box but the keeper collected at the second attempt before a cross from Chloe Bassett was just behind Steele and Box. As the game reached injury-time at the end of the first half, Wodson increased their own pressure but the ladies managed to deal with the threat.
The second half took a bit of time to get going as both sides tried to control the game but that soon changed as the Hawks found themselves 2-0 ahead 10-minutes into the second period. Bassett’s shot was too strong for keeper as her hand to the ball wasn’t enough to keep it out.
It was total domination from the Hawks as they came forward in relentless attacks. Box was almost through on goal but the defender managed to get ahead of her before Bassett did well down the right-hand side but her shot was well blocked. The pressure paid off as the Hawks had three goals in the space of 7-minutes. Ash Deacon unleashed a 40-yard shot into the back of the net before Ellie Manning made it four as she latched onto the end of a dink from Deacon and finished well beyond the keeper. That was only added to by Box who found herself in the right place at the right time to score after the keeper parried the ball into her path.
The attacking continued from the Hawks as more players looked to add a goal themselves. Laura Mills almost made it six but her effort rebounded off the post and into the hands of Wodson’s keeper before Smith was encouraged to shoot from distance but her effort was fired over the bar.
The scoring didn’t end as the game approached it’s end. Amy Drew wrapped up a magnificent performance from the team as she nestled a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box before Steele added a seventh in the 95th-minute as she fired beyond the keeper from close range.
Speaking after the game, Chloe Bassett said “It was good to be back out there with the girls and I enjoyed the run-out. I think we still need to return to fitness and have more time with each other on the pitch but it was a great first game back.”
“It was very tough to break them down. Credit to Wodson, who kept their shape well and made it difficult for us. We tried to play the difficult passes which wasn’t working for us in the first half so we changed our approach in the second half and scored some good goals.”
Manager Dean Perrett was also pleased with the result. “It was good to be back. I was pleased with the performance over 90-minutes but it took us a while to get going. Before the game, we knew it was the same for both sides, coming back to action after 3-4 months, so we knew it was going to be hard.”
“Although we dominated the possession in the first half, we didn’t penetrate or get forward enough and use our strengths but in the second half, we made some changes and settled down a lot more. 7-0 is a convincing scoreline in the end but we played some great football in the second half and there were some great finishes.”