Shrewsbury 0 – 9 Stafford
In their second midlands league fixture of the season, Stafford put 9 goals past Shrewsbury on Sunday.
After postponing the fixture until the Sunday as players attended the funeral of much loved club member Berni Bendall on the Saturday, Stafford were inspired, wanting to grab their first league win of the season in her memory.
Stafford started strong and maintained their enthusiasm and pace throughout the game.
The majority of play was in the Shrewsbury defending half with Stafford looking a very strong side on the attack. After a few missed chances, the opening goal came when Sarah Thompson took a side-line ball, moving forward on the left before finding Stacey Fenton in the circle. Without hesitation Fenton touched the ball past the keeper.
A mistake by the Shrewsbury defence nearly led to the second when Stafford were quick to take back possession of the ball, Fenton and Tori Hamplett found themselves behind the defence, two on one with the keeper. A bad tackle from the keeper on Fenton saw a penalty stroke awarded. Charlotte May stepped up to the plate however her attempt was saved.
Undeterred, Stafford kept up the pressure. Katie Gallagher found herself in space in the centre midfield and drove forward before sliding a lovely ball into the back post where Sian Gwyther saw the ball in.
Another duo who made light of the Shrewsbury defence were Emma Clay and Alex Hemming, working well together moving forward, Clay passed to Hemming in space in the circle. Hemming’s strike was on target but Clay ensured it was going in, lifting the ball into the net.
Stafford was awarded their first penalty corner of the game, a strike from Clay was narrowly saved.
Fenton once again found herself one on one with the keeper however the amazing strike that found the back of the goal was disallowed, however her determination was not hindered.
Gwyther and Hamplett used their pace down the left hand side to find a defensive foot in the circle winning Stafford another penalty corner. Shrewsbury cleared the initial strike not allowing Stafford the chance for another shot.
As half time approached Emily Mallaband stopped play in its tracks and used her pace moving into the circle. A bad tackle gave Stafford a third opportunity at a penalty corner. Mallaband took the shot and fired it in the bottom corner however it was disallowed due to not coming outside the circle.
First Half finished 3-0
Stafford started the second half as they had played the first, with determination and amazing team play. An early goal came when Fenton and Mallaband combined, Fenton getting the final touch past the keeper for her second goal of the game.
Fenton quickly made her hat trick, picking up the ball in the circle she calmly took the ball around the keeper while narrowly avoiding a defender. 5-0.
May took the next strike at a penalty corner, the keeper made the save however Stafford continued to worry Shrewsbury after Fenton chased down the ball. Gwyther just missed the ball on the back post.
Player of the match Hamplett was able to use her skills moving forward, taking the ball around a number of the opposition. Unfortunately, her shot was blocked with a foot and another penalty corner awarded, Stafford unable to convert.
K Gallagher in the middle of the field fed the ball out to Hemming on the wing, a quick pass to Fenton gave her space to take a quick shot, the shot was initially saved however Gwyther slotted the ball home on the back post to make it 6-0.
Lydia Gallagher, Helen Paling and Hannah Bleakley were put to the test when Shrewsbury won themselves a penalty corner. The defence remained cool as Alanah Spilsbury the Stafford keeper made the save, clearing the ball out of the circle.
Another great opportunity came when L. Gallagher released the ball down the wing to Gwyther who linked up with Fenton. Fenton still hungry for goal got a reverse shot off however the ball hit the far post before going out.
Throughout the game Stafford were moving the ball around really well, utilising the space they were being given. After some well worked play the ball found Gwyther in the circle who lifted the ball into the net past the keeper making her hat trick.
Stafford although ahead didn’t slow on pace, Clay scored her second the game with an excellent reverse hit.
Mallaband got the ninth and final goal of the game. Her reverse hit from the far side of the circle slotted into the far corner of the goal. A fantastic game for Stafford hopefully the amazing team work and sheer determination will be replicated in all matches moving forward.