The Hawks returned to action with a emphatic win as they eased past East Bergholt United in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League Challenge Cup.
It was a dominate performance from the Hawks, from start to finish, with four different scorers getting the goals. The victory moved the Hawks to the top of Group B after two-games, ahead of Bedford by a +8 goal-difference.
Right from the off, the Hawks were on the front foot. Amy Nash had the first shot of the game, but her effort was well saved before it fell to her again in the box, but she could only fire over. Ellie Manning had tried to break the deadlock a couple of times in the first 10-minutes and came closest when she rattled the ball against the post.
There were a couple more chances for the Hawks, but Bergholt were able to keep the game level. Manning was encourage to shoot from distance, but her shot was blocked before Georgia Box fired over the rebound. Nash came close once again as her shot was blocked on the line before new-signing Megan Harley also had a shot from distance after seeing the keeper off her line, but it was just wide.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 25th-minute as the Hawks were awarded a penalty as Chloe Bassett’s cross was blocked by the arm of a East Bergholt. Bassett stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired it past the keeper.
The opening goal was the catalyst for the floodgates to open as the Hawks steamed ahead. Within the space of 5-minutes, there were a further two-goals. Olivia Steele finished well to get her first of the game before Georgia Box ran onto a loose back-pass and poked the ball beyond the keeper. East Bergholt had a rare wander forward as they looked to pass through the lines, but Sarah Walker claimed well.
A minute later, Box doubled her tally for the afternoon as she fired the ball beyond the keeper from just inside the box, after running onto the loose ball. As the game approached half-time, the Hawks looked to score more. Lindsey Morgan tried to feed the ball through to Box but the pass was too heavy and went straight through to the keeper before Megan Harley tried her luck from distance but her effort didn’t have enough to beat the keeper.
It was Morgan who added a fifth, 3-minutes before the break as she lobbed the keeper from outside the box.
It was the perfect start to the second half as Steele got her second of the day, 3-minutes into the second half as she fired an effort beyond the keeper. A few minutes later, Harley came closest to opening her Harlow account as she fired an effort towards goal from distance but her shot rattled the bar.
10-minutes into the second-half, Olivia Steele got her hattrick as she created space inside the box and fired the ball over the keeper and into the top corner. Walker was called into action soon after as Bergholt had their best chance of the game, but she did enough to maintain the clean sheet.
The pressure continued from the Hawks as they looked to increase the lead. Amy Drew had an effort parried away for a corner, but nothing came from the set-piece before Hannah Porter headed the ball just over the bar from close range. Steele was looking for her fourth goal of the game as she headed just over the bar, but she didn’t have to wait long as a minute later, she got her fourth and the Hawks’ eighth as she headed in from close range.
With 20 or so minutes, the chances didn’t end there. Box saw an effort blocked on the line before Manning looked to have been played through, but the keeper did superb to deny her with an outstretch leg. Harley also was denied on the line as she picked up the ball in the box but couldn’t send her effort into the net before Daisy Jenkins and Olivia Steele had chances as goal but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The visitors best chance of the game came in the 90-minute and was the last kick of the game as they had a free-kick on the edge of the box, but substitute keeper Chinue Ayton pulled out the save of the game, as she made sure the Hawks didn’t concede.
Speaking after the game, Olivia Steele said “It was dominate performance from us. We could have scored a lot more but it was a joy to be on the pitch today. I think it took us a while to get the first goal but once we did, we carried on, got a few more and settled down. Overall it’s a good result.”
“We always go into games looking for a win, but I think today’s result will make us hungrier against Bedford and we want to challenge for that top spot.”
“It was a very good day at the office. I wasn’t expecting to walk away with four goals, but to do so, makes me very happy.”
With a goal herself, Lindsey Morgan added “In our last game, we played some good football in the second half and this was just a continuation of that. We wanted to start quick, pop the ball and that’s exactly what we did.”
“Bedford have won two also, so it should be a competitive game. We will go in prepared and hopefully get the win.”