Caitlin Bates scored twice as Moors Ladies got their 2024 up and running with an emphatic 3-0 win in windy conditions at Wakefield on Sunday afternoon.
Billy Shackleton’s fifth-placed side were keen to hit back following last weekend’s defeat at leaders Sunderland West End and the victory helped them keep pace with the sides just above them.
Despite the heavy gusts of wind, Moors did try to knock the ball around and play some football – indeed, there were early chances for Bates and Shannon Reed as they got on to the front foot.
Both sides agreed to play on after the referee called a temporary half on the half-hour to discuss the blustery conditions and Moors got their noses in front within seconds of the restart.
Autumn Colledge found some space to slip a ball through for Bates who made no mistake, drilling a low shot beyond the Wakefield goalkeeper to make it 1-0 on 33 minutes.
Moors continued to dominate as Beth Enguita – making her return following a long-term ankle problem – teased the home defence and caused problems linking-up with Katy Hemmingway.
Autumn Colledge was a thorn in Wakefield’s side and got free again on the right of the area and looked to feed Bates, only to be upended by a defender which led to a penalty that was duly tucked away by Courtney Mole for 2-0.
Bates could have increased their lead further in the early stages of the second half when Bates had the ball in the back of the net only for the referee to rule that there was a handball in the build-up.
However, on 64 minutes it was 3-0 and Bates did have her second goal. Olivia Mole intercepted a pass from the home defender to find Autumn Colledge and she was once again slid Bates in on goal to score.
Coral Colledge and Alex Saunders were strong at the back for Moors as they looked to defend their lead and see out the game, while Sophie Miller in goal confidently dealt with anything that came here way.
“I’m pleased with that performance today,” enthused Shackleton afterwards.
“I don’t think I have been involved in a game like that in the past when the conditions were as appalling but we ground out a victory through hard work.
“I think we tried to play our normal brand of football where possible, but we didn’t over it because the conditions simply didn’t allow for it.
“I am pleased we’re back to winning ways and keeping a clean sheet is an added bonus, so the whole back line deserve a lot of credit.”
Full Time: Wakefield 0 Moors 3
Moors: Miller, Enguita, Knox, C Colledge, Saunders, C Mole, Reed, Bates, Hemmingway, Seymour, A Colledge.
Subs: N Jackson (46), Drinkald (46), O Mole (63), Gray (75), L Jackson (79).