Hat-trick heroine Michelle on fire for Lowick

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Lowick United...6 Forest Hall...1

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY WOMEN’S FOOTBALL LEAGUE

LOWICK took on the second-placed team Forest Hall aiming to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.

Forest Hall came into this game fielding the second-best defence this season (after Lowick Utd) and manager Andy Thorpe and coach Mozza Purvis knew that they would have their work cut out to break them down.

Lowick pressed from the start and thought they had scored in the fifth minute when Michelle Stewart and Amy Hately combined to present Sally Dawson with a chance she finished well, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.

The midfield pairing of Kirstie Tang and Jenny Patterson were working hard to dominate a busy Forest Hall trio and were relying on the support play of Robyn Stewart on the left to give them an avenue to play the ball into.

In the 15th minute, Lowick were again looking to the referee as another ‘goal’ was disallowed after a good finish from M Stewart as the linesman was very quick with his flag.

M Stewart was not to be denied and scored Lowick’s opener with a crashing right-foot drive in the 20th minute.

This was followed by a sustained phase of attacking. which culminated in a brilliant Tang goal in the 28th minute, she looked up and chipped the keeper from at least 30 yards in one of the goals of the season.

The resilient back four of Jodie Robinson, Jennie Brewis, Cindy Crossman and Rachel Thompson kept the ever-eager Forest Hall forwards at bay, resulting in long balls being pumped into the box looking for any opportunities, but keeper Kris Weetch was in fine form.

Debutante Robyn Pick made her appearance on 30 minutes replacing Dawson and switching the back-four around. She showed some fine play and appeared very composed on the ball.

Just before the break, M Stewart got her second after good work from Hately holding the ball up well to present the chance to score (half-time: Lowick 3 Forest Hall 0).

The second half saw a determined Forest Hall fly out of the blocks. They pressed Lowick and the back-four had to be at their best not to let them through.

Crossman was particularly effective, winning everything in the air. A corner from Forest Hall nearly ended in a goal with Pick scrambling it off the line to clear the danger.

In the 60th minute, M Stewart again broke free and scored her hat-trick goal, which resulted in great celebrations on the sideline.

Rachel Smart made her usual substitute appearance and was very effective in pulling the Forest Hall defence out of shape which enabled Patterson to play in M Stewart, who beat the left-back to the ball and crossed for Dawson to get Lowick’s fifth.

M Stewart added her fourth and Lowick’s sixth in the 80th minute after a fine through-ball from Tang.

Forest Hall managed a consolation goal with time running out after a mix-up at the back allowed the striker a free shot on goal.

Players-of-the-match were Cindy Crossman and Michelle Stewart.

Lowick now have eight games to play in their attempt to lift some silverware this season. They are next at home against Cramlington United on May 1.