NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY WOMEN’S FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Lowick Utd Ladies...6 Ashington...1
LOWICK United began their defence of the league title with a tough home fixture against one of their nearest neighbours Ashington.
With three regular players missing, Lowick gave a debut to their new striker Gemma Dilks who partnered Amy Hately upfront. The game started in a lively fashion with Lowick on the front foot from the kick-off.
Michelle Stewart used her pace to outflank the Ashington defence to bring a great save from the keeper.
Kirstie Tang then began to spray the ball from centre of midfield. It was passed to M Stewart, who then crossed for Hately to score the opener in the eighth minute. Robyn Stewart then made a great run down the left to cross for Dilks to control before rounding the keeper to score her first for the club.
A fiercely-contested midfield battle then ensued with Jenny Patterson having to come off after turning her ankle.
Katie Rudge covered in midfield but Lowick lacked the height of Patterson and succumbed to a goal after failing to clear the ball quickly enough.
Lowick’s keeper Kris Weetch then dived to turn the ball onto the post and at half-time the game was finely balanced at 2-1.
The second half was only one minute old when Dilks received the ball on the edge of the box and drove a brilliant left-foot shot beyond the dive of the keeper to make it 3-1.
The back four of Crossman, R Thompson, Cass and G Thompson were proving a tough unit to crack with their pace and positional covering.
In the 60th minute, R Stewart slid in to make it 4-1 from a Hately cross/shot.
With 15 minutes to go, Dilks bagged her hat-trick with a close-range finish after excellent work from Tang. Ashington never gave up and always looked dangerous on the counter-attack with their number nine looking very good on the ball.
It was up to Patterson to complete the scoring in the 85th minute following an R Stewart corner with a spectacular overhead bicycle-kick after controlling it with her chest.
At the final whistle, Lowick were delighted with their hard fought victory. It really was a great all-round team performance which bodes well for the coming season.
Lowick travel to Newcastle East End on Sunday for their next League fixture.