Northumberland County Women’s Football League
NEWCOMERS Walbottle visited Lowick on Sunday for the first time in their inaugural season, having stepped up from the U16 league.
Lowick have started the season well but have been plagued with injuries and only had six of the team that won their opening game in the starting 11.
Recruitment and development of quality players was an important part of manager Andy Thorpe’s summer programme and this has proved to be crucial in the continued success so far.
Lowick took time to settle with their new-look formation and it was the introduction of sub Jenny Patterson in a 20-minute cameo appearance that got them kick-started.
Michelle Stewart broke the deadlock in her new role of centre-forward with a clinical finish in the 23rd minute (1-0). Two minutes later, Georgia Thompson latched onto a cross from Robyn Stewart to score Lowick’s second with a fine drive (2-0).
On 32 minutes, Mel Darling picked up the ball on the right and cut inside to drive an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top of the net from 25 yards (3-0).
Lowick’s fourth was scored by M Stewart after a fine run from Kirstie Tang set her free (4-0). Not to be undone Thompson scored her second also with a great left-foot finish from a Darling cross.
The second half was only five minutes old when M Stewart got her hat-trick goal with another fine effort from the edge of the box (6-0).
Jodie Robinson nearly got in on the act and narrowly missed scoring after a speedy run and header.
At the other end, the defence and keeper were playing a controlled game and keeping the Walbottle strikers at bay. A scramble in the box allowed Thompson to get her hat-trick goal to make it 7-0.
Walbottle then got a consolation goal after a great save from Weetch in goal was followed up by their striker (7-1).
Stewart made way for Mozza Purvis to make a rare appearance upfront. She played with finesse setting up a couple of late chances that were not taken.
The game ended with handshakes all round after a very sporting effort from both teams.
Player-of-the-match: Kirstie Tang.
Lowick face a tough away game at the unbeaten Forest Hall next week.
Newcastle East End...3 Lowick Utd...3
(Sunday, September 11)
LOWICK travelled to Newcastle to play their third game in seven days.
The start of the season has proved to be a hard one physically for Lowick, with injuries robbing them of three of the starting 11 from their first game against Ashington.
A much-reshuffled team looked all at sea in the opening minutes, falling behind to two goals within 10 minutes (2-0). Both goals were of their own doing, with individual errors contributing in both cases.
The East End girls had their tails up and were pushing for a third when Lowick struck back from a Mel Darling corner which Kirstie Tang finished with a superb headed goal (2-1).
Lowick then equalised within five minutes and it was 2-2 with 30 minutes gone.
On 40 minutes, Robyn Stewart beat the very effective off-side trap to score Lowick’s third to take the lead for the first time in the game (2-3).
At this point, there only looked to one winner but another horrendous error at the back cost yet another goal and made the game 3-3 at half-time.
There were issues to sort out at half-time and changes were made at the back and in goal, with Mozza Purvis coming on for her first stint as keeper for nearly a year.
In the second half, East End looked to defend deep and use the counter-attack to cause Lowick problems.
Lowick pressed for the entire second half with the midfield and forwards running tirelessly and a combination of superb goalkeeping from the East End keeper, last-ditch tackles and hitting the woodwork on three occasions meant that there was no further addition to the score.
The defence also played their part, dealing with any breaks that East End made.
At the final whistle, it felt like a defeat for Lowick although coming back from 2-0 down was no mean feat and showed the determination that runs through the squad.
Lowick Utd...9 Longhoughton...1
(Wednesday, September 7)
LOWICK played a midweek evening game against the newly-formed Longhoughton Ladies, who started the game with only 10 players.
There was a special pre-match presentation for Sally Dawson who plays for Longhoughton but won the league on loan with Lowick last season.
Lowick attacked from the start and were rewarded with a goal from Amy Hately in the opening minute (1-0).
The game then settled a little and it wasn’t until the 15th minute that Lowick scored again through Michelle Stewart (2-0).
This opened the flood gates and Lowick scored in the 16th, 17th and 18th minutes through Hately, Kistie Tang and Hately once again to complete her hat-trick to make it 5-0.
Lowick seemed to take their foot off the gas and Longhoughton were able to score their first ever league goal after fine work from winger Dawson saw her outrun the Lowick defence and cross for Michelle Renwick to finish in style (5-1). The half ended without further score.
In the second half, Longhoughton came out with a steely determination emboldened by their goal.
They defended like tigers but fell further behind with a well-taken Stephanie Hay goal in the 65th minute (6-1).
Lowick then lost the services of talisman and last season’s leading goalscorer Michelle Stewart with a thigh strain. Lowick added another through Robyn Stewart in the 70th minute before Hately brilliantly robbed the centre-back to score her fourth of the game to make it 8-1.
With the light fast disappearing, it was left to the returning Katie Rudge to score her first goal for the club for two years and celebrate with her team-mates (9-1).
Longhoughton put up a brave effort and never gave in over the entire game.
They were a credit to the league and played with a fairness and honesty that will stand them in good stead for the season to come.
They were warmly applauded from the pitch at the end of the game.