Walsall Ladies returned to winning ways last Sunday, defeating Wyrley Women’s Reserves 8-0 away from home to keep them second in the league.
The Saddlers went into the game on the back of successive defeats to Sutton Rangers who increased their lead at the top of the table to six points.
Despite the defeats, Walsall Ladies manager Jason Barrowclough and captain Sophie Ball were pleased with the attitude and application of the team as they touched upon in the build up to Sunday’s game.
Before the game had even begun there was a real sense of positivity in the air and the opening stages of the game showed evidence of this as the Saddlers played some beautiful football and were nice and composed in possession. In the second minute, Ball was played through on goal but her effort dragged wide of the post as the Saddlers were in full control of proceedings.
In what was a bright opening for the Saddlers they took the lead through top goal scorer Kelly Fowell. A through ball from inside the Saddlers midfield reached Ball who cut inside from the wing and after her shot took numerous deflections, Fowell was in the right place to put the rebound into the net and give the Ladies a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.
The opening goal almost proved to be a major stepping stone as minutes later the Saddlers doubled their lead in the tenth minute, captain Ball finishing calmly after being played through by Roxie Dodds to make it two goals in two for the striker.
Hollie Cullen tested her luck in the 13th minute as she weaved in and out the defence to find space but her effort was saved comfortably by the Wyrley keeper. Moments later, Ball and Fowell had chances of their own after some neat exchanges but neither player could capitalise.
More chances came and went for the Saddlers as they searched for more goals and it wasn’t long before they added a third. In the 20th minute, Bethany James added to the score line as she latched onto a cross from Louise Delaney and put home; this just three minutes after replacing captain Ball who came off as a precaution with a hamstring injury.
The Saddlers then exploited the space behind once more as Fowell added another goal to her impressive goal to game ratio in the 26th minute to make it 4-0. Prior to this, Fowell attempted to become the provider as she played it back to Cullen who drove her effort past the post but from the restart Fowell retrieved the ball and dispatched to get her second of the game.
Just two minutes later and it looked like Fowell was on for her hat-trick but she unfortantely missed from close range. Delaney once again ran to the byline before sending a dangerous cross into the box and at the back post Fowell somehow smashed her effort off the crossbar with the ball then deflecting off her leg and into the arms of the keeper.
Midway through the first half and there was a huge stoppage in play as Fowell was down after suffering a nasty fall. After being seen to it was evident that she couldn’t continue and was replaced by Rachel Watkins and later taken to hospital.
The second half bought more of the same as the Saddlers continued to search for more goals and in the 50th minute, James was played through on goal and scored her second to make it 5-0 and it wasn’t long before she secured her hat-trick as she fired home once again in the 64th minute after a delightful cross.
Shortly after this, James was on the score sheet again to make it 7-0. A long ball from the Saddlers goalkeeper bounced over the defence and the striker controlled well before sending her strike into the back of the net.
In the 70th minute, the Saddlers beat the offside trap and launched another counter attack where James once again found herself in front of goal and there was only going to be one outcome as she finished to make it 8-0; a great afternoon for the striker!
That was the last of the action as the Saddlers returned to winning ways with an 8-0 away win against Wyrley Women’s Reserves.