Moors Ladies continued their outstanding start to the new campaign with a fourth straight league win as they brushed aside fancied Alnwick Town at The Brewery Field on Sunday.
Billy Shackleton’s side have been raising eyebrows after taking the Premier Division by storm in the opening weeks of the fresh season having only won promotion last year.
And they produced perhaps their most complete and professional performance at the weekend against an Alnwick side who offered plenty of threat and finished third in the division last term.
Moors looked determined from the first whistle. Backed by another good crowd at The Brewery Field, they immediately set the pace and were organised in dealing with Alnwick’s obvious pace in attack.
It took just six minutes for Moors to get their noses in front – and it came in spectacular fashion. Autumn Colledge brilliantly flicked on a ball over the top to Caitlin Bates, who took a touch to steady herself before unleashing an unstoppable left-foot drive into the top corner for 1-0.
The visitors showed their teeth going forward in a bid to find an equaliser, but they found Moors keeper Sophie Miller in excellent form, brilliantly tipping over a shot from the edge of the box and also commanding her box with a series of good punches as Alnwick built some pressure.
Player of the Match Coral Colledge also led by example with some thunderous challenges, while wing-backs Beth Enguita and Meg Foster were committed as much to their defending duties as their attacking.
Moors had more defending to do at the start of the second half but again Miller made a fantastic save to turn a goalbound shot around the post to protect the 1-0 lead.
However, on 78 minutes the three points were safe. Shannon Reed drove with typical desire into the penalty area before sliding a ball through to Katy Hemmingway and the forward clinically drilled home her third goal of the season to make it 2-0 and cue wild celebrations.
It could have got even better for Moors before the final whistle when Drew Seymour drew a fine save from the Alnwick keeper before the game finished on a sour note when Reed and an Alnwick player were both sent-off for an altercation following a challenge.
“That was not an easy game,” admitted Shackleton afterwards.
“Alnwick were definitely the best side we’ve faced in the league since I’ve been at the Club and, if I am being honest, I would probably have taken a draw before kick-off.
“There were times when we really had to dig in to get the three points but I think every player gave their absolute maximum.
“The willingness these girls have to fight for each other is a key reason we’re performing like we are, and we just need to maintain that intensity to see where it takes us.”
The Ladies now sit joint top of the NERWFL Premier Division, alongside Sunderland West End who have also won four out of four, ahead of Sunday’s break from league action when they begin their FA Cup campaign against Ponteland.
Full Time: Moors 2 Alnwick Town 0
Moors: Miller, Jackson, Saunders, C Colledge, Foster, Enguita, Drinkald, Reed, Bates, Hemmingway, A Colledge.
Subs: C Mole, Knox, Seymour, O Mole, McGovern.